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January 23, 2003

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus, please.

Q. Are you tortured by having to be here instead of watching Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely ready to get out there. So I tried to get ready quick, so make it quick.

Q. Your all-court game is working now. Are you happy with the way it's going?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, just try to come to the net when I can. If I have a short ball, I move in. If I have to move back, I move back. I just really try to play the ball and whatever it takes to win the point.

Q. When you've been in the other three finals, is this something pretty special for you to be able to add a fourth to your record?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For sure four in a row is real nice. I guess it's (inaudible) this point take the title home. So at least I am always in the position to be the victor. Hopefully this time it will be different than the last three.

Q. What do you have to do to accomplish that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really just think I have to keep focusing, I have to keep playing like I am, keep my errors down and keep coming in, keep holding serve.

Q. If both of you stay together, live together, be together, how are you going to focus your thoughts so that you can still be sisters and be thinking about the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really I try not to think too much about my matches. I really just prepare when I'm on the practice court and after that I let go and watch TV, laugh, read books and stuff like that then go play the match I think. Once you start thinking too much, it can get to you. So I think on the court, off the court I resume with my life.

Q. You registered 215 on the meter there. That's 135 miles an hour?


Q. That's what it said on one of them. I've seen you do 126, but I never saw you break 130.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never seen the 215. It must not have went in (laughter). No, I didn't see that one. If it was, it was nice. Hopefully the next one will be in.

Q. By your standards, where is your game at the moment in terms of percentage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm doing good. I think the only time I am making errors is when I'm just rushing myself. It's my nature to play an aggressive game, that's how I was taught to play the game, because really the people that are winning are playing aggressive and making something happen on the court. At times I'm always so ready to move forward and play a forceful shot that I do rush. So whenever I do slow down, I'm able to play well and consistently. You know, that's really my main goal, is to stay within myself and not get ahead of myself.

Q. Are the conditions slightly faster this year? They said they were going to make them a little bit faster.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really? To me, it feels the same.

Q. One statistic has you at coming among the Top 20 serves for men and women in this tournament. Would that motivate you to try to compete with the men in the service area?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm really going to make sure I work on my serve a lot when I get home. A lot of times I do everything else and at the end of practice it's time to serve and I'm tired so I won't hit a lot of serves. So I think maybe I'll change it around and start hitting the serves first, so that way I'll have put all my energy into that. Because it's a really important part of the game, the serve and return. It's where you start the point.

Q. You had one game with three aces.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really? Good. Probably one game with three double-faults, too.

Q. No.


Q. Everybody was talking about the gap being close. You wanted to show Henin off today? You wanted to show that you're still high above them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: More than anything, I wanted to win the match today. Whatever her performance, her level of play, is really up to her. Obviously, I mean, she's proved she's a great player, semifinals, finals at Wimbledon, you know, great results everywhere. She definitely has the potential to be a Grand Slam champion. But more than anything, I was just out there trying to win my match.

Q. And you are still better than her?


Q. This is a hypothetical question. If Serena gets through, how difficult would it be for you, knowing that she was going for four Slams in a row?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, on the court I'm a competitor. No matter who it is, I hate to lose. The same with her - maybe her even more. Off the court, we're sisters again. If she were to twist her ankle on the court, of course I'd be concerned but I would still have to go out and hit the next shot, you know. That's the way it is.

Q. John McEnroe was talking about playing with you when you were 10. Do you remember that?


Q. Can you talk about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was always really high on myself and, you know, I was sure I could win, I was better and all that kind of thing. So after I hit with him, I went to practice at the regular parks where I usually hit at, and I was telling my dad, "Daddy, I'd win the match. I'd hit my backhand like this, my forehand like that, I'd come to the net." I was telling him all these things. He said, "Venus, I don't know if you can win." Finally, he saw I could do it, he should encourage me. That's a funny story. Looking back, I realize I would have lost. But at that time I really thought I could do it. That's funny.

Q. How hungry are you for another title?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've always wanted to win the titles, especially if it's a Grand Slam. I'm just as hungry, I'm just as motivated.

Q. No difference?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No difference. I think there's times maybe I'm more confident than at another time, but I always feel confident, even if I'm not playing well. I feel confident as a competitor that I'm going to go out there and really compete, and even if I do lose, my opponent's really, really, really going to have to play.

Q. If you did have to play Serena in the final, how would the idea of coming to the net more, attacking more, how would that change the dynamic of the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I try when I have some short balls. But a lot of times the girls are playing the balls deep, especially as the tournament goes on. So when I have a chance, I'll try.

Q. What the key to the love you have in the family? You couldn't wait back to support Serena.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the key is first, you know, our religious beliefs. Really believe in God and we realize that, sure, this is a game, but there's so much more things important in life. All I have is my family and my best friends are my sisters, my mom and my dad. Other than that, I don't really have any people that are around me. That's the first thing. So if I lose them, I don't have anything. Second is it's how we were taught to really be a family and stick together. We weren't allowed to fight or do those kinds of things. It was just out of the question. So we all just banded together and hold each other up.

Q. Are there relatives try to extend your tennis dynasty or whatever?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not yet, because they don't really have any coaches. When I was younger, my mom and dad, they were teaching us. So no one else out there, I guess, has the skill to teach tennis the way they did - or no one in my family at least yet.

Q. Who will you discuss the match with, the final? Do you talk to your mom about tactics, call your dad up? Who do you discuss it with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think we ever talk about tactics. We mostly talk about anything that I may be doing wrong or some things that I can improve on. Of course, if someone has an awesome shot on a certain side, of course you do realize those kind of things. More than anything my tactic, what to focus on in my own game. If I do talk to my mom, most likely my dad, we'll just talk about quick preparation, staying low, hitting up on my serve, those kinds of things.

Q. Do you talk to them before the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure. I don't have a phone this time, but I'll use Serena's.

End of FastScripts….

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