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April 24, 2004

Venus Williams



Q. The result today is 1-1. Do you feel pressure to win the first match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was a good win for Slovenia, but I didn't feel pressure. I felt really confident in my game. I felt really confident in the week I had with the team, with Zina as the coach, and also Billie as assistant coach. Also, I had played Katerina two times, so I was pretty prepared for the match. I felt I needed to tie it up to 1-All.

Q. Can you comment on the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the first set was really good for me. I didn't have a lot of errors. I started making a few mistakes. But also she started to play better. I think she had a little bit of pain there, but she played really well, tried really hard for her team. Also I think the crowd really enjoyed the match. It was really competitive the first day.

Q. What to you expect from tomorrow, Zina?

ZINA GARRISON: I expect, first of all, each and every match for us to go out there and go for the win, try to do our best. But I also think it's going to be very competitive. It's one apiece. Each one of my young women this afternoon will go and get some rest, get ready to play tomorrow, be ready for a battle.

Q. I presume you are not satisfied with the score the first day?

ZINA GARRISON: I wouldn't say I'm not satisfied. I think that's the great thing about Fed Cup: when people are playing for their country, anything possible can happen. I'm satisfied in the respect that it's 1-All. We're not down 0-2; we're still in it. That's the great thing about team competition, is we're working together as a team. We have three more matches play.

Q. What was your assessment of Lisa's game?

ZINA GARRISON: I felt Lisa was right in each and every point. After she tied it back up to 3-All, she had her opportunities. You know, it just slipped away. I mean, a couple points here and there and the scores would have been, you know, just the reverse for Lisa. You have matches like that where you can't quite figure out why you lost. You know, but the fact is she was out there trying her best and giving it her all.

Q. It seemed like there was a little inconsistency, not in her rhythm. She was up in the second, struggled mentally.

ZINA GARRISON: I mean, mental struggle more than anything. The great thing I would say is Tina basically used the crowd to her advantage. She really rose to the occasion when she needed to. She came up with some really big serves that kind of every time Lisa seemed like she was right there, Tina would come up with a great point. You know, like I said, once again, it's just an opportunity. A couple points here and there could have changed the match totally.

Q. Venus, that was like the 'Venus of old' out there: very aggressive, hitting the corners, serving well. You felt pretty good about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm looking forward to getting better, getting back to my rhythm. The more matches that I play, the easier it becomes for me, and the less I have to think. Then again, I haven't played a lot of matches this year yet. More importantly, I think I was able to get better here at the practices with the team - much better than last week also in the United States.

Q. (Question regarding Sunday's match from Charleston.)

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think each match contributes to the next match, whether it was a win or a loss. I learn from each match. It just doesn't start all of a sudden. It's an effort continually that I give to each match. I wouldn't say it started in Charleston.

Q. Was there any extra motivation going out there knowing you needed the win today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I suppose there was extra motivation. I'm trying not to let it be extra motivation or more nervousness or anything in that way just to make sure my mind is clear, to know I'm going out there to play a match, compete really hard, stick to my game, just battle on. As long as I do that, I won't get involved in this mindset that "I'm playing for team members, oh, my God," that kind of thing. I don't think that will work well for me (laughter).

ZINA GARRISON: The coach either (laughter).

Q. Can you talk about tomorrow, the match-ups?

ZINA GARRISON: Well, basically what I can say, just going into the matches tomorrow is just, you know, first of all, just got to get Lisa up, realize we have another match. You know, just basically Venus will have to keep trying to capitalize on what she needs to do. I think first and foremost, with my young women, is just keeping their confidence high, believing in themselves, knowing you're going to have a battle out there and you have to fight to the end. You can't really worry about what's happening on the other side; you got to basically take care of what you can do on your side.

Q. Does Lisa need to play more aggressively than she did today? I think part of that today was the weather, funny bounces.

ZINA GARRISON: Well, personally, I just think that Lisa -- one great thing about Lisa is she loves team competition, she loves being around people, all of us rooting behind her, her understanding she has the whole team behind her I think is enough. Like I said, once again, just a couple points here and there that could have made the difference.

Q. Venus, did you watch any of that match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't see a lot of the match. I saw only the last game. Of course, I was hoping it would go to three. It was a tough match. The best part is that, you know, Lisa played her very hard and Tina knew it could have went either way. Also she knows there's more to come from the US team, more tough competition like that. I'm ready for tomorrow's match. It was good I was able to see the last game because it was a long game. I was able to see how Tina was playing on the surface. I feel prepared for tomorrow, ready to go.

Q. Were you satisfied with the conditions of the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love it. I mean, if I get a bad bounce or good bounce, I keep playing. If I think the ball is in or out, if I get a bad call, I keep playing (laughter). For me, you just play until they say the point is over, then I go to the next one.

Q. You seem very happy. Was it important for you to win today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel really good. It's different from like when you're playing a normal tournament. I feel definitely a lot more jolly, I guess (laughter).

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for attending this press conference.


End of FastScripts….

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