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June 30, 2003

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, first question, please, to Venus.

Q. That was pretty impressive.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, thank you. Thank you.

Q. How did you feel about it yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To be honest, you know, was really nice to have a win but I did feel like I would have liked to have played better. I think this is, you know, one of my first days I was a little bit off on my game, but it's impossible to play perfect every match. So now, I guess maybe a little bit of a relief that I've had a little of an off match, so the rest of the matches I can be on.

Q. You didn't feel she played really well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she played well, you know. She did some good shots and stuck in there. We had some really good rallies. Fortunately, most of them went my way.

Q. Could you talk a bit about what it means to beat her after losing to her in Paris?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What it means is I'm in the quarterfinals now.

Q. Nothing at all that's meaningful?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's in the past. I think the circumstances were different in both matches. Last time she was a better player, despite anything that might have happened. And this time, you know, was nice that I was able to be able to win.

Q. Were you aware of the Court 2 reputation as being a place where the seeds tend to have trouble? Did you think about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like Court 2. I'm okay with that (smiling).

Q. You had a bit of trouble with the serving at times. Was it the wind or was it technique?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The serving?

Q. Yeah?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as...?

Q. The double double.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, that was one game.

Q. Yeah.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I did okay. Especially when I needed some points or had a breakpoint against me, I came up with some nice serves. But the double double, maybe I rushed a little too much in that game.

Q. Was it gusty out there, windy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes it's gusty, yeah. You just have to stay on your toes.

Q. Lindsay is up next. Talk about that match.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't played her in a while. I don't know, when's the last time I played her. But definitely that's what it all builds up to, getting matches, important matches. I feel I'll be ready.

Q. What have you made of the way her game is coming back to the way it was before injury problems?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Lindsay, I think she's playing very good tennis. I think she's playing just as good as ever. And, you know, maybe she hasn't won as much as she'd like, but she's playing very well.

Q. Can she win this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it's anyone's tournament, sure. But, obviously, I'll be fighting against the odds for that.

Q. Can you go back to Wimbledon 2000 when you beat her. She had gotten you pretty good the years prior to that. You beat her there. After that, you completely turned the rivalry on its head in your favor.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was tough. I think at that point I was down 3-9 in the series. I don't know what it was, 1-8, something very one-sided for her. At that point it was the Wimbledon final, it didn't matter if she had won 20-0 for me. It didn't matter to me. I was in the finals and ready to play. Those are nice times, especially for me to think back on them.

Q. Since that time, she was mentioning it today, she feels like, you know, from '99 to 2000 you took a big jump in your game.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I got a little older, had a couple years on tour where I'd learned a lot and won some matches and made some mistakes sometimes, too. And all in all, those were good years, but I learned a lot from them.

Q. Your father was saying yesterday he wants to take you both around to the museum again to remind you, look in the face of champions. Do you think you've become complacent or are you as hungry as ever?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely not complacent. I think you have to find the right balance between being very motivated and being not so motivated that you push too hard and you don't succeed. So that's also another problem for many players. So I have to find the right balance of just confidence and staying calm and executing.

Q. So your father doesn't have to be worried about you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so.

Q. Is it difficult to find that balance?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so. Especially once you're able to find that balance, it's easy to understand how to get back to that balance or maintain, especially for me.

Q. During your first four matches here, what's been the common denominator? What have you been happiest with about your game? What do you think you need to raise for what lies ahead?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, what I've been happiest about I guess is that I've just really stuck to my game plan when I walk out on the court. I've been pretty happy about my service returns also.

Q. When you were at Fed Cup, you really enjoyed it. Lindsay was saying earlier that Billie Jean King told her she could not come on Tuesday, even though she needed to be at her mother's surgery on Monday. Do you feel Billie Jean's rules are too strict? What do you feel about Billie Jean King as a coach?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Billie Jean is definitely a great coach. I love working with her the weeks that I'm at Fed Cup. Sometimes it is tough to be there a whole week for the weekend matches, and I think that probably affects the decisions of some players to play Fed Cup or not.

Q. There were times when you were slightly distracted today. Obviously you had your chair turned sideways, as you do. Do you feel like there were any sort of security problems that were distracting you or making you lose your concentration?


Q. Affect your game in any way?


Q. At Fed Cup, Billie Jean King told me that she felt like it wasn't a habit for you to go to net and make that commitment, that she's worked with you on that. Do you feel like you've been putting her and Zina Garrison's information about serve and volleying to use here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's a really good place for me, but I guess the problem is I'm so comfortable at the baseline that -- and I feel so confident always at the baseline that sometimes it's hard to change a winning combination. But I definitely get in there when it's important, I think.

Q. Lindsay was talking about how your relationship with her, the two of you, have evolved over the years. You're on the board together, you're pretty friendly. Can you talk about that yourself, how you feel about her.


Q. Evolved, from when you first met her to where it is now.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I've always liked Lindsay but when I see her, we say hello, have a conversation and I don't think there's much more to it.

Q. Do you feel closer to her now than you do when you first came on tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand the line of questioning.

Q. Meaning more friendly?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, do you ask Andre if he's close to another player?

Q. Sure.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't really understand the line of questioning.

Q. The Russians got a little bit of a spanking today. Do you think we all kind of overplay the rise of the Russians or do you think they'll be a big force?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If you've overplayed the rise of the Russians, I don't know. I haven't really been paying too much attention to what's being written.

Q. Do you think they will be a big force in the next five years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess so. I can't really gauge who's going to do what, besides of course myself. But it's nice to see them doing so well. They have a lot of very interesting players and a lot of different game styles. All of them are very motivated.

Q. Is the specific goal for you and your sister to win Fed Cup this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm going to be in the -- I've committed to play the tie that's coming up now, so obviously I would like to win that tie. And then after that, we'll have to see.

Q. If possible, on home ground?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What? On home ground? The tie now, or the tie later?

Q. The next.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know where it will be.

Q. Would you prefer it to be played in the States?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would prefer it to be played in the States, yeah.

Q. Could you talk about how you enjoy the whole Wimbledon experience now compared with when you first came as a young girl and it was all kind of very famous and you were a little bit in awe of it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love to play on the grass. My first year of course was very tough. I had to wait quite a few days to play the first round, then I didn't win the first round. That wasn't fun or easy. But I've come a long way since that time and it's been all good.

Q. Can you enjoy it more now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the important thing is for sure to enjoy it more, to enjoy the tennis more. If it comes to be something about winning and that kind of thing, I don't think it works out well. For myself, if I'm enjoying the tennis and of course winning at the same time, it's a perfect combination.

Q. Do you see the crowd's attitudes towards you changing over the years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm just like any other player, I have fans. Just like any other player, I'm a favorite for some people and not the favorite for others.

Q. Do you find you're getting slightly more fans as the years go by? It's happened to lots of foreign players over the years, as they come here, you get more into the crowd's affections?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's hard to say. I'm -- it's hard to say from the inside looking out, to be honest.

End of FastScripts….

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