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March 28, 2002

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. How disappointed are you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I just felt like I never really got into the match. Before I knew it, it was over.

Q. Serena said she was shocked that she beat you so easily. Are you shocked?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She was already in?

Q. No, she was interviewed on the court.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh. Yeah, I mean, yeah, I mean, I just didn't expect anything. Normally this doesn't happen in the professionals. Sometimes in the Juniors.

Q. Have you been struggling a little bit the last couple matches? Today you were beaten in two sets. Is it because you are far from your best shape?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I think I've been doing okay.

Q. Were you feeling bad today or something? You seemed kind of sluggish out there.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I didn't feel bad at all. I felt normal.

Q. Do you have any idea what would account for not playing any better than you did?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I think that I made unforced errors, but it was because of the pressure that was on me from Serena's serve and also from her ground strokes. I don't really think my serve let me down today; I think it was mostly my ground strokes just as far as... You know, making the errors on the ground strokes. Not really the serve today.

Q. You guys practiced before the match. We saw you out there. Did you have any indication from that that she was going to be that good?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I mean, I thought I looked pretty good in practice.

Q. How do you think she looked?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought she looked good in practice.

Q. Is that the best she's played against you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. In public?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. As far as consistency, I think she did really well. As far as keeping the pressure on and, you know, really making those key shots. So when I did have some opportunities, I was just pressing that much more.

Q. Has anyone, including Serena, ever teed off on your second serve like that over the course of an entire match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Not really. I mean, I thought my second serve was okay. I think it was bouncing high enough. But I think she just had a great day. You know, she's got to have that kind of day in the finals, too.

Q. What did you say to each other at the net?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Nothing, really. The normal, "Good match." That's what I say to every player.

Q. It wasn't quite the embrace that you had at the US Open?


Q. There was quite a variance. Your first serve you averaged well over 100 miles an hour. Yet the second serve went down into the 50s sometimes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I didn't see a 50s. You'd have to prove that one (laughter).

Q. 52?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the clock was off.

Q. Could be.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think so.

Q. Probably more in the low 70s on average.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, sometimes like the 70s, the 80s. If I go for it, I'll hit a 90.

Q. Not real deep sometimes, too.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think they were bouncing up high, which is normally an advantage for me against most girls.

Q. You had a 5-1 on court advantage coming in. Is there any chance she's caught up to where your skill level is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think that -- I think that all players have a different game and a different way they play. And skill or no skill, sometimes it doesn't count on the court. What counts is whoever plays better that particular day. So, if I'm playing Serena or, you know, the No. 100, in my opinion.

Q. Is there any difference in losing a match to your sister? Is it the same if you lost to somebody else? There was no embrace, no talking.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I still want her to win. I think that's the main difference.

Q. You want her to win from now on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: From now on what, the tournament? Yeah.

Q. Coming in, you didn't want her to win this match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not in particular.

Q. You've always taken care of her as a big sister and little sister. It goes way back. Do you think she's finally conquered some of the blocks that she had about playing you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think she had any issues with playing me.

Q. You don't?


Q. Venus, after the fifth game in the second set, there was some -- the crowd seemed to be whistling, some hooting, some booing. Did you hear that? What did you think that meant?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I heard it, sure.

Q. Does it bother you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that, you know, a couple years ago Monica lost to Hingis 6-0, 6-0 and she had a worse time than what I did. So I got off pretty lucky I guess.

Q. How do you react to that, to hear the crowd doing that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I got an applause when I left. That was okay.

Q. Do you get a sense, though, that when you play Serena the crowd expects it to be a slug fest; that anything less than that disappoints them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think that our games are so similar that it's kind of a strange match because we played a similar game. So I almost always -- sometimes we practice together; sometimes we'll practice with somebody else because we both hit the ball too hard so there's always a winner or mistake. So when we play each other, that's the way the match is. We're not out there getting 100 ball rallies. That's not us.

Q. She went for so much today. Were you at a point in the second set thinking, "She can't just keep hitting winners"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I don't know. I just thought that I -- I'd get back in there. And normally, people do make mistakes, especially when they're going for that much. I would hit a good return and she'd hit a winner. Normally, you wait for one, hope it will miss. She just kept trying to go for the first shot. And I didn't really.

Q. Will you practice with her at all before the championship? Are you going to go to the championship?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'll be there. I guess I'll practice if she wants me to.

Q. What's your schedule from here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm playing in Amelia Island in a week.

Q. Do you think Serena's game is as good as it's ever been?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's definitely a better player than what she was, you know, a year ago or two years ago. I definitely think so. She's only getting better.

Q. What about your European schedule?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Playing Hamburg and Rome and the French Open.

End of FastScripts….

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