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January 15, 2003

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus, please.

Q. Did you feel you're in a groove now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I tried my best to get into a rhythm more than anything else, just hit a lot of balls and get a nice rhythm going. And really that was my main goal tonight, besides of course to be the victor.

Q. How do you think that was compared with your first match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think it was much better, definitely a lot less errors. I was playing a lot of good points in a row. I think also I was able to start being aggressive because I was more consistent.

Q. DID the fact that it was close matches with top seeds have anything to do with the way you approach the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I realize that any day could be my day to go home, so it's my intent to ensure that each day is not my day, and each day will be the day that I'll come back as the winner.

Q. Do you see a reason why Serena had trouble in her first round, Capriati lost in the first round, Davenport wasn't comfortable today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's just impossible to win every day. It's impossible to play your best every day. I think that some days, no matter who you are, you can be outplayed or your opponent can come out and play better tennis. So this is a game, and you have to go out there and be the best player. Some days you won't be.

Q. So it's a coincidence that it's all three at the same time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I just think that players they played played very well.

Q. What happened to the necklace?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I only wear it for special occasions.

Q. We're not special?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Press conference (smiling)?

Q. The match was a special occasion. Was there something else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, the match is a special occasion for me. I was enjoying myself out there a lot.

Q. It looked like it might have come from Dubai. You told us you did do a little shopping there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, yes, I did. Yeah, it is. It is from Dubai.

Q. Presumably, you could only wear it at night, not in the daytime, because the heat would be a problem, wouldn't it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't think so. I didn't wear it in the last matches, I forgot it at the hotel. I was a little upset because it was part of my whole outfit - stop laughing - that I put together before I left home. So before I leave home, I look in the box and, you know, I pick out what I'm going to wear at that tournament, jewels and all that kind of thing. So I plan everything out from the tennis to the outfit.

Q. There was some speculation that Kournikova had a tattoo on her back. Do you have one on your knee?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so.

Q. You're not sure?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm very sure.

Q. Do you have anything under the tape, a warming agent?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I hate hot creams. No, I really do. But that's another story. But, no, I don't have any warming agents.

Q. How are you finding the court out there this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the court's nice, but I think when it does get hot, the court -- you can smell the court. It has this -- smell like tires.

Q. Do you feel your feet sticking at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I've got happy feet.

Q. Does the smell of tires put you off your game? Is it irritating?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I suppose when it's hot, the court heats up and I guess it kind of bakes. But I did notice the other day when it was quite warm that at least I could, I could smell the court.

Q. Excuse me if this question has been asked already. I wasn't here the whole time. You played Ansley Cargill a year ago. Can you assess her game and where you think she is if you remember from when you played her a year ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think some of her best assets, she runs very well and she just tries till the very end. I think last year she came through the qualifying. This year she did also. I suppose if we hadn't met tonight, she probably could have been able to get to the next round also. I think she's very good, actually.

Q. With Jennifer out of the tournament, you and the Belgian girls are the top seeds. You're bound to meet Justine Henin; your sister, Kim Clijsters. Would you have liked it to be the other way around, or don't you care?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, hopefully I'll get there to meet her. That's my first goal. After that, then the match happens. So I guess my next goal would be definitely the third round and hopefully I'll see her there.

Q. Your forehand today, I mean you said you were happy with the way you played. Your forehand, there were a few errors.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I had more errors on the backhand.

Q. I mean, at times, I don't know, with the wind, I mean, the shots coming off the forehand were out, like really, really out. I mean, is that something that you need to work on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just feel that at this point I'm a professional player and I have to be able to do everything out there on the court: the easy shots and the impossible shots. So I expect it from myself to be out there and to do everything it takes. So I can't say it's something I have to work on, because once I start putting those things in my mind, you start to think, "Oh, there's a problem." I know there isn't a problem. I've been practicing 20 years now. If I can't do it now, I'm never going to be able to. So I'm ready.

Q. You look excited when you get the short, high backhand. Is that my imagination or do you really dance on your toes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Like a swinging volley?

Q. The one you get to put away. They're overheads for other people.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I prefer the high backhand -- the high forehand because it's easier. Even for me at my height, it's just a little high. But either way, I'm quite happy to see a short ball.

Q. Do you think your mother is going to tease you over that one serve of yours that reduced her to hysterics, the one miss-hit that went out over the baseline?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The overhead?

Q. Yeah.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was -- the thing is, when you jump for an overhead very high, you have to time it right. If you do, it looks great. If you don't, you look like a hacker. So that was my hack shot.

Q. You realize when you do that occasionally it makes us feel much better because we do it all the time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just throw it in there for the viewers (smiling).

Q. Lindsay Davenport says your sister and Kim Clijsters are the top favorites. Do you think that's a fair and good assessment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure. Why not?

Q. She didn't name you, for instance.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I haven't picked up my game, but I'm trying. That's all that counts, yeah. Hopefully I'll run faster and jump higher and hit a little harder.

Q. What is the last thing your father says before you go in a match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just, "Stay relaxed," and, "Have fun." Yeah, ever since the Juniors, that's the best advice.

End of FastScripts….

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