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September 8, 2001

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Congratulations, Venus.


Q. How do you feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel okay.

Q. Are you a mean big sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I think I'm one of the best out there. So... I don't know.

Q. Do you consider tonight a win for the Williams family? What's the significance?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure, because this is our first Grand Slam final together, and really that's the way we'd like it to be. Because then both of us win in a way. And, also, I just hate to see Serena lose anyway - even against me. So I think that's the harder part. For anything, it would be easier for her to beat me, then I'd maybe be, I don't know, happier. It's kind of strange. But when you're the big sister looking to take care of the younger one...

Q. If that's true, do you think it would have been easier for you tonight if it were Jennifer or Lindsay? Would you be more joyful now if you had beaten one of them in the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If I was the younger sister, maybe I'd feel more joyful. When you're younger, (inaudible) you're used to finding a way to get in and out of things. I don't exactly feel like I've won.

Q. That's what I mean. That's why I'm asking. If you were playing a different opponent, would you be a little bit more joyful?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If I was playing a different opponent, I'd probably be a lot more joyful. But I'm happy I won the US Open again. There's nothing like winning a Grand Slam. Serena and I, we both know that when we come out there, it's going to be two competitors competing against each other. That's just the way it is. When you walk out on the court, if you're not a competitor, you just got to go home. And we both understand that.

Q. How did you and your sister spend the day today before you got here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We practiced, had lunch, took a nap, headed over.

Q. Your mother said that you took a nap. Serena went out and did some shopping with mom.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think Serena -- I don't know. I don't think she shopped. I hope not, because then she probably got some things I didn't get (laughter).

Q. You got some sleep, maybe that helped?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I love sleeping (laughter). Nothing like getting those zzz's on. Always try to take a nap before a match if I get the chance. A lot of times it's hard to get up for me. Today it took me about an hour and a half to get up.

Q. There's much talk about the dream. Often, you have told us that this was your parents' dream. At what point did it become your dream? Secondly, the dream of both of you playing together in a Grand Slam tournament, when did that happen?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's tough to say. When I was younger, I played tennis because my parents wanted me to. I was happy doing it. I never thought twice about it. And I suppose later on, as I got older and was able to understand and I kind of understood what was going on around me, that's when I decided or I understood that, "Hey, I wanted to be a player, too." From the beginning, it was just a lot of positive reinforcement from my parents. Again, I understood I'd be a good player, I guess.

Q. There are a lot of sisters, brothers. What has happened today is really so unusual in tennis. So many things could have gone one way or the other. Because of the development, how do you see this, both of you together, in terms of the historical perspective of this event?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, boy. Well, I don't know how we ^ both had to be two good sisters together. We're both good athletes, that helps a lot. Then we worked hard and we believe in ourselves. That helps a lot more. Then we kind of stepped up and made it happen. That's what counts. I guess, you know, years from now we'll look back and laugh. We still laugh. But now we look back at the times that we've had before and we laugh and say, "Boy, if I had known, I would have done better here and there." I suppose we can keep the memory for ourselves.

Q. So many figures from the world of sports, from entertainment, celebrities of all kinds came to this match. What does that mean to you, that all these figures came to see a little tennis match between two women?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, actually, I was looking at the screen, too. I don't deny myself a look on the screen when I'm on the changeover. So I look and see who's here, too.

Q. Could you tell us a little bit, some of the celebrities you saw, what went through your head.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I saw all of them - all of them that they showed on the screen. I was thinking mostly about the match for sure. But I like watching the screen.

Q. In the past, your matches with Serena have been filled with a lot of unforced errors - one way or the other. Were you surprised the way she came out? Was she a little rattled in the beginning? How do you describe that first-set dominance you had?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think we were even until I got the first break, and it could be that I'm really used to playing these Grand Slam finals now. That could be it. This is my fifth one so far, my fifth Grand Slam final. So I think maybe that played a factor.

Q. You didn't drop a set this whole event. Is this the easiest Grand Slam you've won? I mean, are you just playing beyond, you know, any skill level you played before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In terms of the scores, I suppose so. It has to be my easiest Grand Slam. But it's been a hard week, or two weeks. I'm a little tired.

Q. Are you at the top of your game? Can you move up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't feel I played my best. I don't feel I did. But I guess it's not always the best that counts. It's how you play the important points. And I'd like to, of course, improve my game.

Q. Do you still have the goal of being No. 1 in the world?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, I do. It just hasn't happened (smiling). When I'm deserving of it, I suppose I'll be there. But it hasn't worked out just yet.

Q. You said you've been in five Grand Slam finals now, and you think that that's helped your comfort level, confidence in the match. There are certain points you might have been down Love-30. Can you explain how being in the finals helped you out.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's really just that maybe I understand the plays more, more than Serena does, which is putting the ball where I want it to be or trying to draw an error. So that could be it, too. But I don't know. Just, you know... I don't know.

Q. Do you think that women are overtaking sport? If so, what role do you think you and your sister have in that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The sport of tennis?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think definitely right now we're the top story in tennis. It's real exciting because every time I go out there, especially if I'm playing someone like Lindsay, Martina, Serena, Jennifer, Monica, I'm going to be in for a battle. And I think that's exciting. And what we've all brought to the game, we've worked hard, and I feel that we deserve it - and the sport does, too.

Q. Martina's pretty much acknowledged that she's not the best player in the world this year. Jennifer has two majors. You have two majors. If you had to realistically assess it, would you say you were the best player this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I've had the most amount of titles. But for me, I've almost done my personal best. I would have loved to have won some more Grand Slams, but that wasn't the case. Someone else was more deserving of the first two (laughing). So it wasn't me. I've done my best. And the year isn't over yet. I'm still looking forward to hopefully improving my ranking. Who knows?

Q. Just sort of eradicating tonight's match and everything, can you understand how people in the media particularly look at matches between yourself and Serena with a very sort of critical eye, almost waiting to see if there's any sign that one maybe is sort of slumping at such a time, sort of a suspicion, almost? Obviously something that you abhor. But can you understand why they're saying, These two sisters, how hard is it for them to play each other? Do you understand that, or do you just find it complete nonsense?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I rarely try to understand. When you spend too much time trying to understand things, then that takes too much time, in my opinion, energy. I develop my own theories and beliefs, and that's how I go.

Q. A few years ago you said you'd like to travel to Africa. I was wondering if you ever envisioned yourself playing a tournament there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I suppose we had one tournament in Egypt, but it's not there anymore. But I sure would like to go. It's hard, because when we do have time off, we have to also spend that time practicing and training so we can play as well as we do. Isn't a lot of free time in our schedules. We have full-time jobs, actually. So when I have the opportunity and the time, I'd love to.

Q. There were times when she wasn't playing too well. As a sister, did you feel yourself feeling a little bit sorry for her? If you did, how did you deal with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I always like to see Serena play well and do her personal best. I was happy to get free points, that's for sure. But then on the other hand, I was, you know, being like -- kind of like if I was sitting in the stands and Serena was playing someone else and I was saying, "Come on, Serena, just do this or do that." When I'd find myself doing that, I'd lose a couple points. So I just want the best for her in the end.

Q. How did you overcome feeling sorry for her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I lost a couple points, I wasn't sorry anymore (laughter).

Q. There were people, Venus, who were thinking ahead to when you're 1 and 2 in the world, you and Serena, and that you could be playing more Grand Slam finals. Do you think that gradually will cut through the difficulties you feel maybe emotionally now about playing sister against sister, and that it will become, "Okay, you've won Grand Slams, I've won Grand Slams, let's go for it"? Mentally, emotionally, there won't be any problem whatsoever playing your sister. Do you think that time will come?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think pretty much today, I don't think we had a problem playing each other. Sure, I wanted to win more than anything - and Serena did, too. We understood that. But I think we played an okay match today. I think that when I had some opportunities like to break serve, I was able to capitalize on those more than what she was able to. So that was the key, the difference in the match. But we both went out there competing, trying to win this tournament. Hopefully, there will be better matches. I mean, after that Andre and Pete match, no one can live up to that again in this tournament - maybe not ever.

Q. Martina and Serena have said something about the wind on center court. You guys practice in Florida. Is there anything about the wind on center court here that makes it different from the wind factor in an open area?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, Florida is windy in March and April but not really the rest of the year. And really, the most difficult part, I suppose, is that at the other tournaments normally it's not windy. The US Open is the tournament usually where it's very windy. Earlier on, in the years before, '98, '99, it was more difficult for me to get used to it. Now I just play with the wind, it's okay.

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you say Serena is getting out of her potential?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as effort level, definitely a 10. Serena always gives her best, tries her hardest. But as far as executing, she definitely could do better. Everyone has to try to do better in my opinion. Once you start getting satisfied, it's going to be a problem.

Q. How are you going to celebrate this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm going to pack (laughter). You know, I'm going to do whatever Serena does. I don't know too many people, Serena knows more people than what I do. Maybe I'll just kind of tag along.

Q. Do you think the men are going to start complaining that they're not getting equal prize money with the Williamses taking all the fat checks like this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so (laughing).

Q. You talked about playing more tennis next year. So how many tournaments are you planning on adding to your itinerary? Do you have any idea?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This year I suppose I've played ten or eleven. I thought that was enough. If I had won a little bit more, it would have been better. But I was happy on the places I went. Next year, I believe I'd like to play more in the beginning of the year, maybe less at the end. So I'm going to look at the calendar and see what suits me best.

End of FastScripts....

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