January 17, 2003
THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.
Q. You look like you switched your game down Love -40. Can you talk about what thoughts went through your mind?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was down Love-40. Which game was that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just wasn't too keen on losing that game. I was able to come through really. It was a little hot out there. It wouldn't have been extremely nice to go to a third set but I was willing to do whatever it takes.
Q. How would you describe the contribution of your mother as a mom and as a coach?
VENUS WILLIAMS: More than anything I really enjoy her company and like being around her. She's a fun person, she's a great person and she's a good coach. She never beats around the bush. She tells it like it is. I guess that's how I am too.
Q. There's been a lot written about the similarities between you and Serena, how you're kind of bookends. Obviously there's quite a lot of differences we don't know about. How would you describe the differences between Serena and yourself maybe on and off the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: On the court, I think maybe I like to mix it up a little more and play a little less power. Serena really just likes to take it to the opponent and just, you know, make you answer or else you don't. Off the court, I like to study and I like to have my books and be at home and sit in bed and that kind of thing. Serena goes around, she visits friends, she visits family, does a lot more extracurricular activities. I do a lot, too, but they're more I guess academically oriented.
Q. Are you more serious?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Serious... I guess I really know what path I'm on. Serena is figuring out exactly what she wants off the court.
Q. You are WTA player representative at this time.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. With this, is there a conspiracy to make the ladies' matches a little more exciting in the first week?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.
Q. One and two, the both of you together, what stage in the tournament does sisterly love finish and the mind games start between you two?
VENUS WILLIAMS: There are no mind games. I don't play those, you know. I think at times mentally you have to be stronger and be willing to go the extra mile. But either you're a better player or you aren't. The mind games don't come into play. I've never seen where they could be successful, so I haven't even tried them. So if you know any that work, let me know.
Q. Yesterday you had six or seven hours between when Serena finished her match and when you started doubles. What kind of things do you do?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't do anything. If I have a book, I have a book. But normally I would have left. But I thought, "As soon as I leave, someone will default, twist an ankle, I won't get back in time." So I stayed around.
Q. Your form, are you happy with how you're hitting the ball?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel better with every match. I think definitely in the first set I was playing really well, sticking to my game plan. I think in the second set she lifted the level of her game. You change it up, try to do something different to also figure out what's the reason you're losing that set. I think that's what she did. She started getting a lot of balls over the net. I kind of started missing. I think at 4-1 I finally decided to miss a lot less than what I had, and it helped.
Q. Nicole Pratt next round. Have you played her before?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so. I've never played her, that I can remember.
Q. You've had a lot of crowd support here, particularly this year. I guess playing an Aussie on Rod Laver Arena, do you think that dynamic of maybe change in allegiance, would that bother you in any way?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I've played a lot of favorites in my time. I'm really happy for her that she's able to get to this round. I didn't know I was playing her next. I guess now's my challenge to get to the round after this.
Q. How much are you enjoying your tennis at the moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I enjoy it a lot - especially when I'm winning. When things get a little tight, I tend to be a little bitter about my performance, that's natural. But when I'm on a roll, it definitely feels great. If I'm not enjoying my tennis, then I'll definitely take a step back and reevaluate my life and things on the court and also try to explain to myself that it's not that bad. But I do spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. After I pat myself on the back, I get back up.
Q. After the US Open final, you seemed a lot more down than you are now. You seem brighter, both physically and your mood.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think last year for me was a tough year because I was just I think always mentally and physically tired. I was always going the extra mile to do my best. But I really didn't want to go to practice all the time, I always felt tired. So it was a tough position to be in. So really at the end of the year I tried to take a break so I could actually be ready for the next year.
Q. And the spark is back now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It has to be, especially with the competitors out there.
Q. You were wearing something on I think it was your left knee. Was that a band aid or some sort of fashion statement?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I wish it was a fashion statement, no. What is it, it's called a medial glide. Does that explain it?
Q. Not really.
VENUS WILLIAMS: (Laughing).
Q. Serena talked about not wanting to peak too soon in the course of the tournament. What would you consider the best time to be at your best in the tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the best time is every time, in my opinion. But I think what she meant, she probably felt confident that she could raise the level of her game when the time counts, and I guess it is very important to do that. I also have that same confidence. I've done it in the past. I'm looking forward to doing it this tournament also.
Q. Is that your cousin sitting in the stands today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Which one?
Q. Your cousin next to your mom?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She? That's my niece.
Q. She fell asleep during the game.
VENUS WILLIAMS: She's a baby. She can't help it.
Q. Was it Serena getting back at you for maybe having a bit of a rest in Serena's match yesterday?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I had a rest yesterday?
Q. Serena's match yesterday, when you watched her, you had a bit of a rest on your mom's shoulder?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a good place to be, your mom's shoulder.
Q. Was it you guys taking her out shopping too late last night?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was the heat, too. She's not a player so she's not used to sitting in the sun. So it probably got to her.
Q. She's enjoying it down here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. What do you have in your book bag this time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Book bag? I have -- I always bring too many and they're heavy. But I bring my design books and my history design books. And my latest book is Economics Explained, because I found that it was a subject I didn't know a lot about. I don't like to live life not knowing a lot about things, so I just decided I have to pick up the pace. Put down the nonsense books and pick up the real deal. So that's what I did.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.