September 4, 2002
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.
Q. Your serve, Monica said she had a tremendous amount of problems dealing with that. Is there something that you altered from the match against Chanda specifically regarding your serve?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my first serve percentage is just higher, and I was able to get a lot of good pace on the first serve. Even on the second, I was able to get a lot of kick. So it was bouncing high. I think when she tried to attack it, it wasn't -- the ball didn't bounce exactly where she thought it was going to.
Q. Do have you had a cold?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe.
VENUS WILLIAMS: This is my voice. That's how it is (laughter).
Q. Feel like singing a song?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, any time. Just, you know, after 9:00, I really don't sing.
Q. Did you hear Aretha Franklin is going to be singing for the women's final?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I haven't. I'd like to be there to see it, that's for sure.
Q. Ten years ago somebody tells you that you're going to be up here, routinely crushing a player of Monica Seles' caliber. What would you have thought?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think I would have exactly -- I should have believed I would be here. But as far as playing as well as I did today against someone like Monica, I'm not sure that I would have thought that. But it's really satisfying to know that I've been able to work hard to be able to get to this level where I can play this well against a player like her.
Q. When you look forward to playing Mauresmo - you've beaten her four times, the last four times you've met - how do you get yourself psychologically ready for a match like that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm ready already. The past is behind me. All I can do is play better. All the wins I've had and nice times so far hopefully will go into the semifinal match.
Q. What do you see in Mauresmo's game? Do you think she's at that stage that she might penetrate the elite to join the group that's just below you and Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm really not sure what her career will be. I know what mine can be, and that's more or less what I focus on. I suppose she has all the potential in the world to do exactly what she wants. That's the best part about tennis, is that you make your own destiny. Whether she gets there or not I suppose is up to her. But I'm just focusing on me.
Q. What do you see when you play her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What do I see? Oh... (Shrugging her shoulders).
Q. What is it like to play against her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I enjoy it. We've had some great matches. I played her twice this year - I played her once in Paris and was real close. Antwerp, the first set was real close. So hopefully I'll be able to play well and get the match under my belt. But it's a couple days from now. I have a lot of time to practice and work it out.
Q. What has been the difference in those matches? What does it come down to as far as your winning?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't like to lose that often. I don't know. Been able just to play a little bit better. I guess that's it. I don't know.
Q. How upset are you that you haven't won a major yet this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not upset. I've tried and I just wasn't able to really step it up when it really counted. I've been able to do that the last couple years. I know for sure that I can't win every match, but I could try. That's what I do.
Q. When your serve is going so well, like it is tonight, what's the feeling inside? Do you really get a kick out of it? Does it give you special joy?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, when the serve is bad, then that's when I'm not happy, sure. But normally it's not as bad. And I'm getting older; as I get older, it seems to get better. When I was young, I had some bad days... But I'd like to feel that I am progressing.
Q. Do you feel like your game's exactly where you want it to be at this stage of the tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For sure I think that it's been really important that I've got to this stage, the semifinals. At least I've given myself the opportunity to go ahead and be this far in the tournament. I'd like to be a lot better, for sure. But that's just me as a player, that I always like to be better.
Q. Forgive me for looking ahead, should you and your sister both win on Friday, obviously you'll meet each other in the finals. Do you think it's beneficial to the development of your game to face your sister in so many finals so consistently? Would it be better for you to meet different players? Would that help further your game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel it's best for me to meet Serena in the final.
Q. Why do you feel that way?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I want to see her do her best and I would like to see me do my best.
Q. Does it help move your game to the next level, knowing you know each other's games so much?
VENUS WILLIAMS: This isn't -- there's no answer for this question.
Q. But you don't think that facing different players would --?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I face different players every day.
Q. But in finals.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, in finals also.
Q. Do you have any particular memories from that first prime time final last year? Anything that stands out when you think back on it: People who were there, Diana Ross, anything like that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't really think back to that match that often.
Q. Why not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To be honest. I don't know. I just don't.
Q. You and Serena have different games. Do you think it's something that your father developed as you were younger, or is it something that both of you just developed on your young?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely developed on our own. Our dad teaches us, and our mom, too, to play surely aggressively and also, of course, good defense, and also definitely take your opportunities - but two different personalties. We're two different players. I think we think of it differently, too, so it shows up in the game. We can't be the same.
Q. How different is your style of play from Mauresmo's? How would you describe Mauresmo's?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think she's definitely at a stage in her game where she can only go forward. I remember a couple years ago where I was at that stage also, where I could -- you know, I was getting to quarterfinals and semifinals and all I could do was just keep going and go ahead and try to win those. I think she's definitely at that stage. Fortunately I'm at the stage where I've done it and I know what it's like and I'd like to do it again. I do enjoy playing her. I think she hits a nice ball, at least for me. I like the way it sits.
Q. The match this afternoon, did you watch it? Are you surprised Jennifer lost?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I was just trying to get away from my last match and trying to escape that match and move on. I didn't want to watch any tennis or think about any other player except for me. So I was just relaxing.
Q. Why did that last match so upset you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I just -- I let it get away from me. I had leads and opportunities and I don't like to play like this, especially at a Grand Slam, especially in the later rounds, and especially against a good player. I thought it was a little bit unfortunate that I had to get so close to being out of the tournament.
Q. During the rain delay the other day, they showed again the rematch, the Spirlea match. Of course matchpoint and many other matchpoints when you were younger, you were so elated. As you've grown, you have a much more contained personality it seems. Two questions: Do you miss that kind of elation that you had when you were younger; and, could you talk about your growth and your personality.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think the big difference is that when I was 16 and 17, I was doing everything for the first time. It was like No. 200 in the world, beating Top 10 players, getting to my first quarterfinals and semifinals. So it was all -- I guess I suppose dream come true. Of course I worked hard and I feel I deserved to do those things. But now at this point I expect to play well, and I expect it from myself to win these matches. So I think that's the huge difference.
Q. Was it more fun the first time around?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, 'cause then I lost the next round. Now it's fun because at least I know I can follow through and at least I know how to follow through (smiling). Actually, in retrospect, that was -- it was a great time. To see yourself come from the very bottom and all the way up to the top, it's been a nice, nice career for me.
Q. Do you think the growth in Serena's game over the past year is physical or mental? Do you think she's mentally thinking her way through matches much better? Or she physically is better?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think it's mental and technical. It doesn't matter how strong you are. If you can't make your shot, if you can't perform under pressure, if you can't get out there and play a little better than the next person, you could be as strong as a He-Man, it doesn't matter.
Q. What do you think it is?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Everyone gets to that point where they're tired of losing and you sit down and say, "I'm not doing it anymore." I got to that point also. I know what it's like. She has all that extra motivation this year and a lot of energy.
Q. How much of her coach would you say you've been over the years?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We definitely encourage each other. Like I couldn't go to her match yesterday but I called her before and I told her, you know, "Go out there and fight for every point." Just try to motivate her. That kind of thing.
Q. How much do you think you've been compared to your parents?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't have to tell her so much anymore. Definitely back in the day we'd push each other and help each other out. Now it's not as intense because I really feel like when she goes out there, she knows what she's doing. But we both do our best to help each other.
Q. Serena said that when she was young she played Andy Roddick. Did you go on court with Andy, too?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I never hit with him. He was dying to play Serena.
VENUS WILLIAMS: (Laughing). I don't even know if he remembers that. He might. Maybe he'll choose not to. He really wanted to play Serena. They're about the same size back then. I was always a little taller.
Q. Why did he want to play her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess he thought he could beat her.
Q. Did he?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, you have to ask him the result.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.