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August 24, 2002

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What did you do differently when you got down 5-3, what did you change? Anything? Did you just elevate your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was down 5-3?

Q. Yeah.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know, I guess I wasn't so much thinking about the scores. I was thinking more or less about holding serve. I was playing so many short balls, and she was having a big opportunity to come in and volley and take balls out of the air and I was always on the defense and I felt that I couldn't continue the match like that. She played really well, and she was able to break my serve a couple of times. But then I was able to raise the level of my game.

Q. Do you really not keep track -- do you not know that you have won 10 straight or ---

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't thinking about that. I was just concentrating on getting the points for me. I guess that's what happened as a result. I didn't realize the score.

Q. Did she show you any different things this time around as opposed to your other matchups with her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I think pretty much when we play each other we know what to expect. We have played so many times. Neither one of us has drastically changed our games so that we would throw the other one off. When we come out there we know what we are up against.

Q. Compare the way she played to San Diego when it was ---

VENUS WILLIAMS: In San Diego I think she just made a few more unforced errors. I did have to play well to get that score line. But I think today she made less errors. She definitely served better. But she's definitely had some great results coming back. I don't even think she expected this. So for her to be in these Finals is really, really unbelievable.

Q. When did you sense that she was probably frustrated or getting tired, did you sense that at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can tell of course, even if I was in the position she was in today where she was serving for the first set, and wasn't able to get it, I think maybe, you know, I have been in those positions before so I can sense what my opponent is feeling.

Q. You mentioned yesterday about the streak between you two and how you got tired of losing to her in the beginning. At 5-3 were you thinking along those lines the same way like she's not going to beat me again and that's mentally you elevate the state of your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I just -- I guess I remember 4-3 and I don't remember really the score line being 5-3, I just remember serving and holding serve then breaking at 5-4 so I guess I really wasn't thinking about the score line. I was really serious into holding serve. I just felt I wasn't going to lose at least that game.

Q. 16 in a row here. Any significance to that for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have never played any event like I play this one, that's for sure.

Q. No one on Tour has done that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, well, I don't know.

Q. In five years -- it has been five years since someone has won four.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really. Yeah, I guess there have been players out there who have done better than what I have in events winning five and six in a row. But at least I have four in a row.

Q. Will you keep coming back as long as you are the champion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'd love to. I have got to at least try and keep it going.

Q. Lindsay thought your forehand was much better and more consistent with your shots overall now. Do you feel it's true?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely so. I don't -- I have gotten older and I keep working and I have been able to get better and definitely some years ago I would be inconsistent and she would go to the forehand for errors, but now almost I guess it is my favorite side to play. I think basically both have gotten better and even before she was injured she had gotten better also. At this point she's just about I think at her highest level.

Q. Are you happy to be playing like this going into the Open? Is this where you want to be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Mentally I feel there. For me that's the whole battle is to mentally be able to feel I am in the competition. That's definitely a good thing going into the US Open.

Q. When you talk about stepping up your game as you did today, is it a mental step up or more physical? What kind of switch is that? What goes through your mind?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess it is mental, sure. Definitely to keep the unforced errors down and to definitely make my opponent work more for the point if I am going to win the point. And I guess a lot of it is physical too because then I really track down if I can't every ball and keep them coming back. (Laughs). That's what I also try to do. And I think more than anything I just really expect it from myself to do these things and it takes time before I guess any player on Tour can really get to the level where they can be able to come back against great players like Lindsay, but I am really happy that I am at that level now.

Q. You talked about yesterday about having trouble with your toss from time to time during your career. Did that happen a little today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my toss wasn't there. I don't think I was taking enough time in between serves to correct it and also I think I should have slowed my first serve down some just to get a rhythm than get them in. But then I was thinking I have to go for it, I have to force the issue, so just wanted to keep hitting them big.

Q. Do you have a battle in your mind with yourself when something like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: With the serve?

Q. With yourself when you are playing, I need to slow down but I want to go for it and --

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like to play fast. When I come out there on the court I am ready to play. I don't have to delay. I am ready to play each point whether it is a good call, bad call, I try to keep playing. Of course if it is a bad call at matchpoint against you, then that's bad. But (laughs) -- I try to play and keep the rhythm of the play.

Q. Does your overall play here, Venus, give you a big lift going into the Open, feel confident going into the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Technically I feel pretty sound and I know that in the big matches against the best players are going to have to be able to come through technically because when my technique starts to break that's when I just lose it. Really this week I was focused in on trying to do the right thing technically and on the big points.

Q. Have you decided with your sister when you are playing doubles yet?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We have to decide quick because I think the deadline is like 12 noon, but I talked to her yesterday but I forgot to ask her about the doubles. Then I went in the elevator and the line cut off and I forgot to call her back. So -- I will see her today. We have to talk about it. Thanks for reminding me.

Q. Talk about her knee at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. We didn't talk about that.

Q. Do you have like a friendly, like competition between you, like if she gets to the final like, you know, like you guys are in opposite brackets so you both obviously want to keep winning to get to the final, it is like a contest at all between you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really because even though we have been able to play well these last few months, it's not like opponents gave us matches or that we played badly and still won very easily. We have to get out there and we have to work hard and we have to make it happen every match. So basically we take it one match at a time and if we both get to the final that's great. If one of us gets to the final, that's great too, but as long as we are there, as long as we are healthy, that's all we want.

Q. A couple of players were talking I think it was Dokic who said that when players come into a tournament knowing you are there, they almost say well, we can settle for a semifinal or quarterfinal appearance and even Lindsay said that for you to lose, you almost have to self-destruct. Do you feel that way, that you come in that much ahead of everyone else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think there's definitely a lot of great players out there and for that reason also I have been able to raise the level of my game because when there's good competition that's when you get the best out of yourself. But I definitely think that if I don't make a lot of errors then it's going to be a tough match for my opponent unless I am hitting every ball up the middle very softly then I guess they can pound me away but that's not my game. If I am serving well and I am not making 50 or 60 or 70 errors, then I think most likely I will be successful.

Q. Do you find there are a lot of scores like today where somebody plays you tough for the first set it seems to take all the energy they have and then they just have a letdown in the second?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know, but I am not sure exactly what happened on her side of the net, but I just enjoyed once I started getting those games, I just -- especially the past couple of weeks, I just start reeling them off and I just get -- I just start to have a great time out there. It is just -- (laughs) I don't know. Just really been enjoying more than anything just the competition, you know, for 6-5, I try my best to get it to the tiebreaker and the more I play well, the more games that I win, the more that I try not to lose even one point, so I guess I really just enjoy competing out there.

Q. Do you feel in anyway that she's at a disadvantage having played only four tournaments this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't really think so because she really playing really, really well and for every player that she's played, like Mauresmo who's been playing great and won Montreal and semifinals of Wimbledon, she handled her very easily. And all her score lines have been pretty much like mine, so I think she's been playing really, really well. I mean, much more than anyone ever would have expected. I think it's just a matter of time before I guess she gets one over on me.

Q. In the second set she seemed really down. Her body language seemed to suggest she was kind of done. Could you see that the way she was playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes I do see my opponent. I don't always watch everything that they do as much. But, you know, I think that she was a little frustrated because she probably felt that she should have won that first set. And also I just kept getting all these balls back and a lot of her best shots and then I would hit a pretty good shot and she probably wasn't expecting me to do that.

Q. Do you ever stop and think how much you and Serena made your dad seem like a genius?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just -- I just know that we put in a lot of hard work and we studied really hard.

End of FastScripts….

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