April 25, 2004
USA vs. SLOVENIA, PORTOROZ, SLOVENIA
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. Great match.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.
Q. You did have your bad moments at the beginning. What happened?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she had just a different rhythm than most players. She was hitting some good shots, slice, variety. Maybe I wasn't ready for that at the beginning. I just really focused in at 0-2. I wanted to win my service game. Had a really good game there. My team really helped.
Q. So you could say Tina was a worthy opponent?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, she was very good.
Q. Slow start. Very interesting first game. After about three or four games, you dug yourself in pretty well, very few unforced errors, didn't get bothered by the lobs and dropshots too much?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She had a different game plan. I didn't have the opportunity to see Lisa play. I saw that last game at 5-6 yesterday. I definitely had to adjust. She had some dropshots. Usually people don't make every one. She made every one today, made every lob. I'm really interested in coming to the net these days. When I came in, she was lobbing and hit some great shots. I didn't let that discourage me from keeping on with my game.
Q. Did you decide five or six games in the first set that you needed to work yourself more in the points?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. I was probably just a little bit off from the different spins that I was getting, so I had to settle in, then work my way to more and more power, eventually more and more to the net. It just took me a little bit just to make sure I understood exactly what I was doing, then to do it.
Q. You played for the team last year, then in '99. Talk about playing for the team this week.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been great. The week has gone much too fast actually. It's been so nice. This actually is a wonderful country. Everyone has been so nice. I've had an opportunity to really experience being on the team, having the opportunity to get better. I've had the opportunity to meet some great people. It's nice.
Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, where would your tennis be right now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel like a 10, as far as my whole attitude. I always want to get better with my game. This week has been a plus playing on the team. But I'm always giving myself the grade that I always want to get better.
Q. What do you need to get better?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Everything.
Q. Not attitude?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Attitude also. Everything (laughter).
Q. You're going to be in Europe for another two or three weeks, is that right?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. Talk about some of the things you're going to be doing in preparation for the French.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just basically making sure I practice on and off the court, and really a lot of maintenance off the court to make sure that I can keep playing at this level, that I don't get injured. For me, off-the-court maintenance is going to be real key.
Q. It's going to be a year ago next week you had the first abdominal injury.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. Not so good memories there.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I know. I know.
Q. But is it a hundred percent now? Are you pretty comfortable with it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm fine now. I just have to make sure that I don't get tight. As long as I stay loose, I'm fine. I've had really no issues with the abdominals this year.
Q. Can you talk about working with Zina, what she's been working with you specifically on this week?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We've been working on -- well, of course, really everything. There's so much that you can learn. When they're on the side of the court, they see much more than what you see because they've been there, they've done that. They have kind of the outside view. Really it's just a continuing learning process. I mean, even out there today we were talking about patterns, some of the things I didn't see. A lot of the things, of course, I do. But it's impossible to see everything in the heat of the moment. So it's nice to have her out there. She's not overbearing at all either. So it's just perfect for her.
Q. How do she and Billie teach the serve and the volley?
VENUS WILLIAMS: If you listen, you'll have a perfect serve (laughter). It's taken me five years to get that backhand volley right. This tie, they've been both really excited about my backhand volley and really about me coming in, just about me covering the net when I'm in there. I found more and more it's easier for me when I'm in there.
Q. What will you remember of Slovenia?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think maybe the beautiful weather. There was some rain, but when the weather is nice, it's unbelievable. And we don't have this in the States where you have such beautiful land and not a million houses, you know, there where it's overpriced and overdeveloped. We don't have anything like this, like a beautiful bay like this. Spoiled. Very nice. I hope it stays like this.
Q. You have a long four months ahead of you, like the other players. Are you willing if the US wins this tie and Austria wins, are you willing to go to Austria?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Are we going to Austria?
Q. They're up 2-0.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to make myself available. I do.
End of FastScriptsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.