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August 15, 2004

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. You looked pretty excited when you won, had a pretty big celebration. Probably looking like you just won Wimbledon. Describe your emotions.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm always excited after each match. I mean, I think most athletes -- most of all, playing in front of tons of people, great crowds, you don't always get to enjoy the moment because we're so busy concentrating, focusing, fighting, doing whatever it takes, that after the match is over, I try to enjoy the moment, because during the match there's so much intensity going on that you don't always realize how blessed and how lucky you are to be able to play in front of a world stage.

Q. There weren't many fans there this morning, it was a pretty easy match, but you seemed so excited.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I played well, especially coming after the injury from my last match. I haven't practiced maybe as much as the next player, but I'm playing well and playing smart. Also it made me happy because I've been doing everything that my coaches this week have asked me to do. So for me, that was a real point of excitement.

Q. How do you feel for the Olympic Games returning home? In this situation, give the power to be winner?

VENUS WILLIAMS: How do I feel about the Games what?

Q. The Olympic Games, how does it feel with the Olympic Games returning to its home?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's awesome, I really do. I had so much fun the last Olympics, so much success. Then to be here is amazing. I think me and my whole team members are like, "We're in Greece, we're playing in the Olympics, here we are." We stepped off the plane. When the first events started yesterday, we're like, "We can't believe it started." So it's been so exciting for me, for the whole team. It's just starting. I'm going to be here till the last day.

Q. Could you tell us why you had your knee taped and also your wrists were taped, seemed to be coming undone? Did that bother you during the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not necessarily coming undone. Obviously, you tape for various issues. But I'm not going to go into them. I feel more comfortable keeping it to me, myself.

Q. Architecturally the stadium here is very similar to the one in Sydney. Did you get a bit of a buzz? Did it take you back four years to the form you had then, the feelings?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, huh-uh. That's what makes it so hard to play the Sydney tournament. It's like, "This is not the Olympics, this is Sydney." But, yes, assistant coach Lori McNeil said, "This reminds me of Sydney." So we all were thinking that. I guess this is 2004, and I've got to focus on the now. Everything that I've got and I feel, that's mine, that's always mine. I just want some more.

Q. Justine is coming back after being out for quite some time with a virus. What do you and other players expect of her? Are you kind of curious to see if she's healthy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What do we expect? I don't know. I think we're so focused on ourselves, what we expect of ourselves. I mean, she's been low on the radar. There hasn't been any press, news, so I don't know what's happening. Obviously, she's doing okay. I mean, I don't know. I'm worried about my next round (laughter).

Q. Are you slighted by the seedings or extra motivated by the seed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no. It's my ranking. It's fine. Ranking isn't everything. It doesn't exactly judge the kind of player that you are. I think anyone playing me knows that. What's my seed?

Q. 6.

VENUS WILLIAMS: My seed is 6? I thought it was 12 (laughter). I don't know. Like I said, I'm just playing. I'm here to play. Doesn't matter what my seed is. I'm in the draw, I'm ready.

Q. You questioned some of the line calls today. That's something you don't normally do. Did what happened at Wimbledon have anything to do with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm always pretty silent. But I hit those balls close to those lines. I know when my balls are in or out. I felt that one was in. And I hit them real close, and I expect them to be right on watching because I go for a lot. So maybe they're used to judging other players who might hit not as close to the sidelines, but I hit them close. So I just wanted to remind the umpire, "Yes, I hit them close. You need to expect that from me."

Q. Is it a little strange not to have Serena here after you guys planned to be together? How often are you talking to her a day? What have you told her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Super strange. It was tough for us. Tough for both of us. So I haven't told her like everything that I've been doing. I haven't like said a lot about it. She's pretty upset. So I haven't talked about the Olympics really. Just talked about like other stuff, not the things that I've been doing.

Q. Do you expect her to be with you at The Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I think so. That's what I expect.

Q. Can you tell us how you feel playing in the heat here, with the wind there is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not hot. The wind did pick up, especially the last game, so I was kind of glad, it was the last game. But, no, I'm not hot.

Q. How hard is it going to be to repeat?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think just as challenging as every single tournament that I enter. You have to play well. That's really the only thing that it takes to win. So that's what I have to do.

Q. The outfit, did you design it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it's Diane Von Furstenberg.

Q. Any of your efforts you might be wearing here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, that's the only one. It's all red, white and blue.

Q. I read somewhere you designed a hat.

VENUS WILLIAMS: For McDonald's, yes.

Q. How did that come about?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Someone from marketing McDonald's suggested it. So I had a few drafts and a few rejects (laughter). Just like anything else. But eventually it came out with the right design. So it was somewhat of a last-minute thing. It was I guess in about March, which was what, six months or so, so it took a while before I got the right design.

Q. Are hats usually your thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, that was the first hat. Actually, I was very nervous because designing for McDonald's, a huge worldwide corporation, it was intimidating. I kind of stalled a little bit. I kept not thinking about it, not thinking about it. Finally I had to do it. So it was a different kind of pressure, different kind of experience.

Q. Have you seen people wearing them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, no, because I haven't been in the village. I haven't been in the village since - yeah, I went yesterday. So I don't know. They should be wearing them by now.

Q. Could you tell us some words about the whole venue, your first opinion about Greece?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I love Greece. Everybody's been so nice to me. And I just have a real sense of well-being. Like my first reaction was like, "I feel like I'm on vacation here." But I got to work, so I can't get a vacation.

Q. Is it possible that we Greeks see you again in our country?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Hopefully, yes. Yes, for sure. Because I am going to come one day for vacation, and if there's ever a tournament, absolutely. I'll be the first one to sign up.

End of FastScripts….

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