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August 22, 2002

Venus Williams


WTA TOUR: Questions, please.

Q. You are happy to have this match out of the way and hopefully kind of day out of your system?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I suppose. I think today was like all the other days.

Q. I mean in terms the unsteady play on both sides of the net, kind of a lot of unforced errors.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, but I was going for a lot more shots and trying different things, so at one point I did see where my unforced error count was getting little high and it makes it a lot more difficult of course when I am giving away those easy shots, easy points. Especially the last two games of the match I tried to clean it up some.

Q. How much did you know about your opponent coming into?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have seen her play before, so I did -- I didn't know how she played but in the warm-up of course I took a look at her game but just like any other player on Tour I respect her as a player and I know I have to go out there and play just not going to give it to me.

Q. Is it hard to get fired up for a player ranked that low and fairly unknown?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not at all. This is her big chance to make it happen and to gain points and to make a name. She has a lot of things that can go well for her getting a win over me. I have no problem getting ready for these kind of matches.

Q. You had to learn about her game as the match went on since you had never played her before. What about her game may have surprised you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She has a good serve. I think she has a really good attitude on the court as far as giving her best and trying very hard. She came in a lot even though I was passing her, she just kept coming which is a good thing because there was a lot of opportunities at the net.

Q. You mentioned outside on the court looking to get back to No. 1. Can you talk about that little rivalry right now with Serena and how you want to get back to No. 1; what it's going to take from this point on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, just a few tournament wins, sometime in the fall, but that's a few weeks from now. My main focus is the Pilot Pen right now.

Q. Do you feel going into the Open better prepared than Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. Maybe. (Laughs).

Q. That means yes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really don't know. So... Haven't been really thinking about that.

Q. You are probably not thinking about this but I will try anyhow, Serena and you, doubles, have you decided yet?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I asked her the other day - I said, are you playing doubles. She said, I don't know. Are you? Yeah, that meant kind of, I don't know, after that we went on to talk about other things.

Q. Because this is just a good warmup for the U.S. open, courts are similar and the stadiums are similar, have you ever asked Serena about possibly playing doubles here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To be honest I don't consider it a warmup. I really think that the events on our Tour are very important. I am here because I like to be here not because I am trying get a tune-up for the US Open. If I am not ready for the US Open after all these years then I am not going to be ready just because of this tournament so I am here because I like being here and I like to support Tour events.

Q. Over the years what have you noticed about New Haven as a city, its character and what do you like about it; dislike about it perhaps?

VENUS WILLIAMS: So many nice restaurants. That's the first part, really big variety. I never really get passed the hotel doors. Especially this year, I have been really stagnant. I don't know why. Been wanting to relax because -- I didn't relax enough when I was at home, so been really relaxing.

Q. You don't get out and --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not as much. Like last year I went -- not last year the year before. Well, previous years I went to the shops and I went to the restaurants every night, and that kind of thing.

Q. What was your impression on the character of the city?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's nice. I think it has the feel of a modern city but yet kind of an old-town feeling. It's not too big and you are kind of can get to different places very quickly. It has a little bit of everything.

Q. Some reason you don't consider this a warmup because you have won this three years in a row so it's your tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If I wanted to warm-up best thing for me would be to stay home and practice. That's what I like to do before I am playing in a huge event. But I just like the tournament. Anne keeps getting me to come back an so that's why I am here.

Q. When you win a tournament three times in a row, does it make you feel different while you are competing in it? Do you feel some ownership over the tournament and it's yours, win or lose?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I won a couple three in a row before. And it's just nice to know that you haven't lost recently, it's not as much fun losing so I know when I come here, I can expect a few wins.

Q. It seemed like for several years there when you were younger about the only thing that held you back were these injuries that you would have to deal with every now and then. How does it feel this year to apparently to be injury-free from start to finish, meanwhile you look at some of your other rivals there and they are the ones that have been getting hurt this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I started out early. I think that main thing is I grew very fast so my body had to catch up with my height so I had lots of injuries and plus I really pound the ball and I run hard and I do all kind of things so when I was younger that was tough and still I have injuries. But they haven't kept me off the Tour. So that has been nice this year.

Q. Would you say there's any particular aspect of your game that is much better now than it was when you first came here three years ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think just mentally I am a lot better. I remember when I first came here in '99 I won the tournament but I was really struggling to keep it under control and as a result the US Open, I kind of lost control too as far as not winning the matches that I should have won, but since that time been able to improve on that.

Q. Does your sister ever tell you I want to play New Haven next year? Does she ever kind of kid you and say oh, no, it's my turn to play here next year, you play somewhere else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. We don't really talk a lot about tournaments and tennis. Not really.

Q. Would you be hesitant to have her in a tournament like this since it's so close to the Open or would that not factor in?


Q. What were you doing on the computer this morning? Your father said you were up early on the computer.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I couldn't get on line today. I had some -- some important he mails, (laughs) and so I am going to have to use the facilities here. But really that's all I was doing. Then I did my hair.

Q. Are you suggesting that -- I think he was thinking that you might win the US Open this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's my plan. (Laughs) Going into every tournament my plan is to take it home. It doesn't happen every time, and basically only thing I am guaranteed is a first round match and I am not guaranteed that second one, so I have got to fight to get just to the second round and hopefully the tournament win.

Q. You mentioned you enjoy the restaurants in this area. Anything else about the New Haven area that peaks your interests and any other stops on Tour that you particularly enjoy for stuff away from the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really it just depends on how many events I am playing and when I get to the tournament and depends on a lot of things. I haven't done that much here as I should.

Q. How about in years past?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, actually, believe it or not, I have to do like a lot of interviews and, you know, sponsor events and that kind of thing, so once you juggle your schedule with that and of course practice, can't forget that, then a little bit of training and a little bit of ice, a little bit of the gym, by that time you just spend the rest of your time relaxing.

Q. How about a little shopping?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am over that. I don't need it anymore.

Q. You got everything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have got everything. Please believe.

End of FastScripts….

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