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July 1, 2003

Venus Williams


MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Venus Williams for you.

Q. You looked really happy out there after that match. Can you just talk about that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it was a tough match, for sure, and I knew it would be going into it because, you know, Lindsay was striking the ball so well the whole tournament and hitting really clean. Also I didn't get as many first serves in that I would like, so that made it a little tougher for me today. But those last two service games for me were quite effective. My serve was there. That was very nice.

Q. How does it really feel when you whack the ball the way you did in those last two games?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (Smiling). When they don't come back, it feels great.

Q. You just looked very joyous afterward. Are some wins more fun than others?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I had to fight very hard. The second set went so fast. I didn't want the third set to go that fast unless it was, of course, my way. But I had to get in there and fight. Lindsay played very well.

Q. Just talk about how you raised your level in that third set, especially the first game you broke her. Lots of good running points, defensive tennis. Then you turned on the offense.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that helps me a lot that I'm able to play good defense and also a lot of good offense and then take the defense and make it offense. But I just tried to do whatever it took. I could see we both were there pressuring each other's serve to break serve. So when I got that first break, I tried to keep rolling with it.

Q. You've beaten her so many times in a row. Do you get to a point in a match against Lindsay where you think, "She's gonna crack again, she's thinking about it"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I have no idea what's going on in her head. But I recall when I was down in the series, and I know what it felt like. I just felt like I wanted to win and to not lose another match. So maybe that's what she's feeling; I have no idea.

Q. How frustrating was the rain break for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I was okay with it. That's the reality at this tournament, that it could rain. You could see the dark clouds looming, too, so it was kind of a matter of time. But we're really fortunate this last week, week and a half. There's only been a few showers and it clears right up.

Q. What do you do during the rain break?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Relax, try not to fall asleep. I wake up groggy. I can't move my feet.

Q. Do you have a headset or read?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, there hasn't been a lot of rain delays here, but I just kind of sit down, relax. If it goes really long, then I have something to eat; that kind of thing.

Q. Today, anything specific?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was like half an hour today or 45 minutes, so I just did a little stretching and fell asleep a little bit and woke up (laughing).

Q. When is the last time you've had this much confidence in your game overall?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess the last time I played this well or was able to definitely win these important matches was in Australia or Antwerp. Then I had just a few injuries in between, the last few months, that really kept me off the court. So I haven't been able to practice to be able to be as confident as I normally would be. But hitting the courts and winning some matches, it's nice.

Q. People would find it strange that you could be so sort of focused and playing at such a high tempo, and then sort of have the rain break and fall asleep. How does that work?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am low maintenance (laughter). I am not a very stressed out or hectic person, kind of anything goes - not anything, but I'm just an easygoing person. I guess that's why. Plus, I love to sleep. I'm a sleeper. So any time I'm sitting still, I might nod off.

Q. Were you feeling any residue at all from injuries, or was it just free-flowing out there today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have to be very careful because it is a stomach injury and you do everything with your stomach, just getting up, lifting your legs. I have to be careful, especially since I am in the doubles. So I'm doing everything it takes to stay healthy.

Q. Do you feel a tug at all when you're playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I mean, sometimes I can feel it, but I'm -- I don't get to the point of a lot of pain.

Q. Let's go back to the sleeping. What's it like to fall asleep and then you wake up and you say, "Oh, yeah, I'm here at the All England Club at Wimbledon"? What goes through your head?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really try hard not to fall asleep because, you know how it is, it takes a while to wake up. You guys don't have to play a match, but I do. My mom always says, "Don't go to sleep." She doesn't know what's happening in the locker room. She would wake me up if she was around. That's how moms are.

Q. Do you say, "Here I am"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes Serena comes by and nudges me. I don't think she goes to sleep as much as I do.

Q. Today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, she didn't nudge me today. I think the phone rang.

Q. You were saying how easy-going you are. People have imagined this horrible last year for you as you haven't been No. 1 anymore. Has it not been as difficult for you as people would like to make it out to be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that if I'm listening to what everyone says, of course it's going to be hard. But I have to listen to what I think, and I think that I had a pretty good year. And it's impossible to be the shining star every time. If so, then I guess it wouldn't be as much fun for the fans.

Q. What about for you? I mean, was it difficult to not be the shining star, or is it okay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, what I'm saying, it's impossible to be in the winner's circle every time. You don't learn as much if you don't lose a few times.

Q. You're playing very powerfully and strong at the moment. Nail a rumor for me, creatine, a lot of players do use it, is it something you have ever considered using, would use, do use?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't use creatine. I'm not sure what the other players are doing. But you're real careful these days, even if it's just -- if someone mixes a smoothie for you at the places where they're mixing smoothies and they're putting stuff, I stay away from all that.

Q. How do you maintain this power and strength that you've managed to sustain for what will be, hopefully, seven games of a tournament like this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: How do I maintain it?

Q. What do you do? How do you get through the whole sort of two weeks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I play, rest, try to eat a good meal.

Q. Sleep?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sleep (laughing).

Q. You're playing Kim Clijsters.


Q. What do you expect of this match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I expect her to play well. She's obviously a very good player. I know I have to play well also.

Q. Do you think your level of play is high enough to beat her now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my level of play is high enough to definitely play well against any competitor. And at this point, you know, I'm not thinking about winning or losing, I'm just thinking about going out there and executing on my shots and in my game.

Q. Over the years you've always been the teacher to Serena. You've been the big sister. What have you learned from her over the past year or two and the way she's performed? Do you take anything from what she's been doing that you learn yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think, for sure, Serena just always had the better shot last year, for no matter who she was playing. She always had the right answer. She definitely was very motivated to do well and to win, and that's really what it takes. Sum it up.

Q. Matter of attitude or approach to the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it's all about an attitude thing, for sure.

Q. Do you feel that you lead Kim Clijsters in the series 4-love or 4-1?


Q. Do you consider the Masters last year a loss or an injury?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You mean in the -- do I consider -- the championships?

Q. Yeah.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay. I don't consider it a loss, myself. I just, you know, if I had maybe another week or two, I could have played the match (laughing). But they didn't postpone it. But, you know, she played well in those few games we played, but I was pretty much immobile. It was a strange injury because I didn't feel it until a couple of days later. I twisted my ankle. I was just in bed the night before and I felt a burning in my ankle. I said, "What's going on?" It went downhill from there.

Q. Kim Clijsters is getting very close to the No. 1 position in women's tennis. Is it important? Are you thinking about something like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't even know she was close. That's the first thing. Obviously, she gets to No. 1, when you get to No. 1, you deserve to be there. So what else can I say?

Q. Is it an extra motivation that you can help your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I have no idea. I'm not going to put words in my mouth.

Q. The court was a little bit slippery, especially the side of it that is right where the player's box is. For you, coming off the injury you are, was that at all a worry for you? You look like you took a little fall there once.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was upset that I took the fall, didn't get up and get the next ball.

Q. You tried?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I tried. But definitely, especially when you get back there, it's quite green still and I have to be more on my toes next time and not let my heels touch. I don't know why I went down. But either way, you have to be careful when you fall.

Q. But no twinges of any kind?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, fine so far. Hopefully it won't be another thing where two days later something comes up.

Q. She's a really terrific hitter of the ball. What's it like playing her again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Kim or Lindsay?

Q. Can you describe what you try to do against a game like hers, where she's not going to move too much but really is going to go for it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Which player?

Q. Sorry. Lindsay.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I definitely know that her game is similar to mine, to make something happen, to serve well, be aggressive and move forward. I definitely know what she's going to do when she plays. It was just a matter of getting out there and playing my game better than the way she plays her game. For me it's as simple as that.

Q. How much do you count on the fact you're obviously a much better mover than her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely count on my movement in every match. I think it's important for me to be able to get those balls and it helps my game a lot. But Lindsay definitely moves a lot better than maybe five years ago, and she definitely runs down a lot of balls and hits well on the run. And she's improved herself in every way.

Q. Kim's played you tough before. It seems for the most part, her game breaks down late except for once or twice when she's played you. Do you think it's the inconsistency of youth, mentally with her, or does she have tactical problems on her forehand side?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I'd like to think that every time I won I played a little better. Maybe I'm fooling myself.

Q. Do you think with her it might be a natural maturation process with her not being able to pull through against some of the bigger players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't even know what it could be. I don't really see her matches unless she's playing me or Serena. But she's definitely got a really good career so far. I don't find any fault in anything that she's done.

Q. Jennifer is now up 5-2 and is serving for the first set. If she would go through and Serena would lose, would that give you a little extra inner motivation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Motivation, extra motivation?

Q. Uh-hmm.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't want any words put in my mouth. But, of course, if I can't do it for myself, then I do it for Serena.

Q. Obviously, you know, the injuries, you've got to be extremely pleased with how you played today and where you're at in the tournament. But how important is it for you to win this tournament at this point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't come to the tournaments just to have a good showing. And if I don't win a tournament, I don't get extremely upset. But I would love to win, just like all the other competitors who are going to be in the semifinals. And I would just have to play to win.

Q. Your father, I spoke to your father yesterday, he said he didn't feel like the Belgian girls were the main threats to you and your sister. How do you look at that? It's probably going to be a Belgian-Williams semifinals again.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, it could happen. But I don't give much thought to it on who's gonna knock me off the throne, and who's gonna win more matches against me than the next person. Definitely want to win more matches for myself.

Q. You do not feel Kim and Justine are the main threats to you and your sister in the Grand Slams?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You have to understand, I look at it from a different view than you look at it. I'm looking at it as a competitor and I'm playing everyone, not just one or two persons. You guys, especially since you're from Belgium, you're looking at Kim and Justine. So it's definitely two different views.

End of FastScripts….

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