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March 22, 2003

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. Can you talk about your serve? It was not your best friend today, especially in that first set. What adjustments did you make as the match went along?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my serve was, I think it's just my toss is not in the right spot, I'm not able to execute very well. But normally I'm not hitting a serve or making mistakes when the point really counts, making the errors when I'm up or winning or that kind of thing. But always, it's very painful to lose a game.

Q. Like on a double-fault?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Especially my service game. Was it a double-fault?

Q. On the one, yeah.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I never do that. That was bad.

Q. You seemed to be cruising through the second set until the fourth game. Then you had the breakpoints against you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I just lost focus. To be honest, she was playing real good. She was trying to move me -- from what I could gather, she was trying to move me around, make me run. And I suppose trying to win the match, too. But I'm glad things went my way today.

Q. You still won that set 6-1. Did that particular game, the fourth game, affect your rhythm at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really because it's nothing I could do about it once I'd lost it. So I had to just break.

Q. Did you know before you went on court that you were scheduled to play again tomorrow at three o'clock?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. This is okay with me, though.

Q. That's fine. Presumably, you were quite keen to get this first game over as quickly as possible?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it seems like I've been waiting forever to play this first round. So finally -- or second round. Finally, I'm in the third. This is quite normal for me, or any tennis player, to play back-to-back like this. Actually, I'm fortunate that I'm not playing doubles also.

Q. Could I just ask you, do you feel that your victory, your title at Wimbledon, is the most prestigious of your titles? If so, why Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, Wimbledon is the most prestigious for tennis, but I think for me, my best titles were the Olympics.

Q. What do you feel about Wimbledon that makes it a little more special than, say, the other three?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I suppose the history and I suppose that's where the game started. Throughout the last 100 years, it's been the most prestigious title for a player to win. So it's just tradition, I suppose. But any title's quite good for me.

Q. Do you feel that maybe it might be the ultimate in your mind if you didn't have the Olympics as well, that Wimbledon title of yours?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it was my first large title. It was -- I remember the year I won, I was thinking I had no other choice but to win the tournament. I really, really wanted to. So it happens. And I definitely took some great memories from that. Once you win one, you always know how to win it again.

Q. Do you think that's going to be a pretty big goal for a couple of months down the track?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure, but my next biggest goal is definitely tomorrow's match.

Q. I would think that when you get to the finals of four consecutive Grand Slams and finish second that you could either get discouraged or get toughened. People are talking about seeing a fire in your eyes. I was just wondering if you could talk, you haven't chosen the first option. It seems like you've, you know, you're rising to the challenge. Has that been easy, hard?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, all the finals that I didn't win, I didn't deserve to win them. I didn't play the best that day. I was beaten by a better player. It's not easy. Nothing's given to you, especially these Grand Slams. So... I was real happy to, of course, be in the finals. I was real happy that Serena won, but also I felt sorry for myself, too.

Q. It's been a great day for American women players today. I think six American women have won today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I saw zero results. I didn't see who won or lost today.

Q. Right, Sarah Taylor beat the 11th seed. Carly Gullikson has had a good run in this tournament as well. How encouraging is that for you and Serena to see a few of the other young American girls coming through as well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's always real nice to have a good -- good Americans coming through because it's good for the Federation Cup and also for when the Olympics come around for USA. But more than anything, I think we're more focused on our results. I'm not always familiar with the new girls. All of a sudden, they're ranked number 50 in the world and I've never seen them before, so I also have to keep up with who's coming up, too.

Q. A lot of the men are shooting up the rankings as well. Looks like good times for American tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everybody's good.

Q. If this tournament didn't fall on the date it does, would you and Serena be going to the Academy Awards, or would you watch it and critique everyone's dresses, and Serena, with her acting aspirations, would be interested in it, I would imagine?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Would we go to the Academy Awards? I guess. I don't know. Maybe if I was invited, but...

Q. I think you could probably wrangle an invitation.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably could sneak in, back door. But I'd much rather be here. If I wasn't here, it would mean I would be ranked 300 in the world and somewhere struggling in a qualifying match or in South America fighting, so... I'm quite happy to be here. But if it was another week, I would have a nice week off. I don't know.

Q. Real quickly, what was the highlight for you of that NAACP luncheon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The whole awards show was wonderful. It was the best one I've been to. Most awards shows aren't exactly entertaining, but that one was. I enjoyed all the people that presented, all the people that got awards, I enjoyed the entertainment, I enjoyed getting my award. It was real nice. I got to meet a lot of nice people. More than anything, it was a real inspiration.

Q. When you think of people who have won that before, what was that like for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was real nice. I think it was one of our -- Serena and I, our highest honors. It was real, real nice. A good one for me and my family.

Q. You said you met a lot of people. Was there anyone in particular?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, Serena always meets the most people. I usually miss out every time. But...

Q. Do people just gravitate toward her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know what, someone always pulls me aside and starts talking to me and, you know, a little bothering me maybe. Then, everybody else, Serena gets to meet everyone. That's what happens every time, so... At least she told me about it.

Q. How was Serena today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't really see her today. I went to practice in the morning, then I went to my room and I didn't see her until this afternoon before I left to go to practice. She had her music on, so I guess she's doing better. But I suppose when you're having a virus, it's making you a little bit weaker. So possibly you can't run as fast or have the stamina. But I think she's doing real good. Mentally, she's got it, so she's going to keep fighting because she really wanted to play I think.

End of FastScripts….

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