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August 27, 2002

Venus Williams


MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. What was it like waiting for like six hours to play your match today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was a long wait, but I'm used to waiting actually, so... I'm glad I wasn't the third match. At least I was the second.

Q. What did do you? Did you finish a book or something?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A couple of novels, yeah (laughter). No, I just read the paper. It's hard to find a quiet place, a comfortable place to sit. I ended up sitting in the training room because they had a nice seat there.

Q. Not so much work once you got out there. At least you didn't make it look like work. How did it feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that she's actually a good player, and if given the opportunity, she will get herself into the match. I wasn't especially keen on giving her those opportunities today. It was nice to have that score. I've never had it - once, maybe in qualifications a long time ago.

Q. But never certainly at this level?


Q. Last night a lot was made about Serena's outfit. Is all that talk kind of frivolous?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What was made of it?

Q. People asking her what she wore, what she thought of it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought it was cute.

Q. Are you glad that people ask questions about what the women are wearing, or is that kind of frivolous conversation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no, not at all. Definitely I think we have some of the most colorful and different outfits, that's for sure. We like to wear them.

Q. Another frivolous question. Would you ever go down that road?


Q. Wearing what she wore.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would, but it's already been done. I'm not like one to do it second.

Q. Have you ever tried it on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I've never tried her clothes on. I guess she hasn't tried mine on either. Maybe if she takes the Puma logo off, I'd try it on (smiling).

Q. Tonight Althea Gibson is going to be honored. Can you talk about your first knowing about her, hearing about her? What were your impressions?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not really sure, to be honest. I've never actually met her.

Q. Have you ever seen any videotape of her playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, just briefly.

Q. Anything striking, what were your impressions when you saw it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I only saw a couple of plays. But she seemed very, very smooth and elegant as a player. But I never had the opportunity to actually watch an extended amount of her matches or her play.

Q. Probably going to be a headline story if you're not in the finals. Is there any pressure knowing that's the perception?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all, because I realize I have the potential to be in the final. But it doesn't mean anything; I still have to play. I realize I can get there, I can be there, I've done it, but I still have to, I guess, perform and do everything it takes to be there.

Q. I guess there were a lot of kids watching, but 40 of them were from the Southeast Tennis Learning Center in DC. What do you think of the facility? What have your experiences been there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's very nice. I've been there twice. It's very nice. I like it. I didn't actually notice them in the crowd - believe it or not.

Q. You might be surprised to find out they were very high up.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really (smiling)?

Q. Some of the kids said it was a long wait and a short match, but looking up to you let them see what they can be. Did you have an experience like that with any players when you were a kid?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Not really, no.

Q. No one you identified with in that way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I had favorite players, sure. I think my most inspiration was definitely my parents and my sisters.

Q. Did you and Serena ever get to go over to matches at UCLA, Manhattan Beach when you were young?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We went to all those, that's for sure. I guess we sat high up. I don't remember where I sat, but I just remember being there.

Q. When Althea was playing and doing well, the hope was that she would pave the way for more minority kids to play tennis. It didn't exactly work out that way. Do you think times are different now? Are things different now where you guys would have more of an impact?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. Can you see that at all yet?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not something I really dwell on every day, believe it or not. I mean, I don't think, you know, the next Czechoslovakian player is vying to make sure that other Czechs are in the game. It's the same for me. Even though I'm African American, I'm living my life every day, basically as a person.

Q. With the fame you accrue every day, is it tough to lead a normal life?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, it's tough.

Q. But you try?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm definitely patient. I try to treat everyone as if they were the first person, you know, to ever ask for an autograph or picture or want to talk about tennis all day. You know, I don't go at the peak hours. If I go, I try to go in the morning.

Q. If you vary your schedule, you can go?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I do, uh-huh.

Q. Do you have a book that you're keeping in the dressing room for the next time you have to wait?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just have my study books, but I don't really bring them because they're kind of exhausting. They'll drain you. I don't have my funny books and my nonsense books. I wouldn't mind going to the bookstore.

Q. Do you ever sketch just for fun when you're sitting there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I should. That's a good way to practice, you're right.

Q. Is the gap between men's and women's tennis something that will always be unbridgeable and we shouldn't talk about a woman player playing on the ATP Tour, like you wanted to do back in 1998?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Like I wanted to do?

Q. Didn't you?


Q. Didn't you once go to the ATP?


Q. You never once asked them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It was just, you know...

Q. Will the top women ever be able to compete?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's not my aim. I don't think it's any other woman's aim, to compete with the men, to be honest.

Q. Could you ever see playing one of those John McEnroe and Billy Jean King type matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm highly disinterested (laughter).

Q. Could you comment on the next round, Alicia Molik?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't played her in a while. It will be nice. I enjoy every match these days. I really just enjoy the competition. When I'm out there, I'm just enjoying myself, especially if I'm winning. I just enjoy the plays.

Q. What is your sister's biggest weapon on court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, boy. I mean, it's hard to say what the biggest weapon is.

Q. Would you say speed is one of them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think, more or less, you have to say, "Where can I find a hole in her game," I think. I think basically it's just about getting more balls in play than what she would probably.

Q. What is the last CD you listened to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Last CD, I bought this Alanis Morrisette. I bought Aerosmith's greatest hits. I bought this other one. "Cruel Intention" soundtrack. I'm just a mellow girl. I like anything that sounds good, not too heavy.

Q. Are you going to attend the MTV video awards?


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