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September 6, 2004

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus.

Q. You're a warrior, a great player.


Q. How are you feeling? Is your wrist and ankle still bothering you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I'm feeling good, thank you. Yes, thank you.

Q. Can you talk about the forehands that sailed a little bit today, whether that's something that has been troubling you for a while, what you can do about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think the thing that hurt me the most today, just in general, would be a little bit of my consistency. I think that my serve wasn't where it normally is. I mean, my second serves were quite fast, normally in the 90s. But my first serve was, uhm, you know, not as normal as it should be. I think that, you know, I've learned a lot from this match, so...

Q. What?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Normally I'm -- I'm really disappointed, you know, all this year's Grand Slams. But I've learned that, you know, I'm in the -- the position that I'm in is not necessarily my fault. I've learned that, you know, I can't be hard on myself. I have to take my time and realize that, you know, it's just a matter of time before I'm playing my best. Even though today wasn't my best tennis, there are less things that I have to think about on the court because for the past few weeks, or since playing the Olympics, I've had more opportunity to practice, so I am not thinking. I guess it's hard to describe exactly. But when you're off, there's so many things that you have to think about because you haven't had enough time that it just comes like that (snapping fingers). But I am encouraged from this match. I think that, you know, next time it will be different.

Q. Can you learn something from Lindsay? She's gone through injuries and been down, and now she's maybe playing the best tennis of her life. Is that something that can give you a little hope, too, if you can just stay healthy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My hope, more or less, comes from within. Each person has a different set of circumstances that they deal with. You know, just in the past couple weeks, I've just come to realize that my circumstances, maybe it wasn't necessarily because I hadn't worked hard enough. I think there was a part of me that was thinking that I hadn't worked hard enough, you know, that I didn't want it enough. But the fact of the matter wwas that I couldn't practice. There's a part of me now, "You know, don't blame yourself. There are things that happen that are out of your control sometimes." I can't feel that I didn't work hard enough because if I had the opportunity, yes, I would have. So I've gotten wiser - older and wiser, I guess, in that aspect. Yeah, I feel better. I feel okay.

Q. When you saved all those match points, is that when you realized how much you wanted it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not necessarily. I mean, I wanted to win the match. I guess my biggest disappointment is I just was really enjoying playing here and really I felt playing better. I would have loved to have gone on to play the next round because I was enjoying it.

Q. Had you gotten that break here, did you feel like it may have been a different match? Were you gaining confidence at that point to where things would have been a lot different?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think just in general I missed too much. I think I just missed a few too many. I think I was a player that was going possibly for more. That's how I play. I didn't mind playing her at all. I didn't feel I had a bad draw. I don't necessarily think she probably felt the same way. But even when I'm not playing my best, the score is quite tough for whoever's playing against me. And next time, you know, I'm going to have 10 less errors, I'm going have 20 less errors. I'm going to really, you know, punish the person I'm playing with, my first serve. I know that, you know, now that I stay healthy, I'm going to stay healthy, if I can control it. I'm going to be better. So, yeah, I feel good.

Q. You talk about how you're a player who goes for it, who really goes for it. Would you ever consider changing that to sort of rein that in a little bit strategically?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, there are times when it's important to get the ball in play. You have to read your opponent's body language. It's important to get it in play and not maybe go for a winner all the time. I'm not necessarily going for winners, but I'm going for an aggressive shot and to make a play. I'm not very comfortable just like sitting back and hoping the next person will miss. Ultimately, that's not how you win. Ultimately, the people who are winners are the ones that make it happen. My balls will fall in. There are one or two -- a few things that I haven't gotten down just yet. My follow-through on my shots and my serve I would say is a little bit off. Just a few things. I need to play closer to the baseline. Just a few things.

Q. Was she serving really well or was it more what you were doing that you couldn't get a breakpoint on her until the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She definitely served well. But I think it was me. I made a lot of errors. I made some errors. Basically that was it.

Q. You talk about how you've been enjoying yourself this week. People sometimes when they look at you say, "She's not having any fun." Is that not true?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Who said that?

Q. They read your body language or see how you are walking out to a match, not smiling very much. It's those kind of things.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I'm having fun, I guess. It's a lot more fun when you win matches, sure. But I have a lot to think about.

Q. Such as? Just with your game or other things?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, with my game, I think. Not as much as before, but I still have a lot to think about.

Q. And you really think if you got your body right, you could get back to being the player who won Grand Slams, who challenged for No. 1 in the world?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm getting there. I'm getting there. Yeah, it's just for me a matter of being able to stay out on the court and practice and not have these intermittent injuries every few weeks. I've been okay since my last wrist injury, what, in San Diego or LA or wherever that was a few weeks ago. Yeah, basically.

Q. Do you plan to play the full fall season then and The Championships?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm going to be in a few tournaments. Did I qualify for The Championships? I never keep up with my ranking or points or anything that much.

Q. Have you heard news of the hurricane? Is your house okay in Florida?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I wouldn't worry about it. Nothing I can do because I had a match.

Q. Should other players be inspired by Lindsay today?


Q. What did you find in her game today that was particularly good?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Possibly the best thing was that she served well. I think she served well.

Q. You've played her 25 times.


Q. Is there anything special about that, this rivalry?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably played her the most times than anyone else. Yeah, that's true. Anything special? Not that I can think of right now. I mean, it's great to play against a player who challenges you, that's for sure. But I just need to overcome the challenges, yeah.

Q. As you come back from these injuries, have you made any type of concerted effort to cut back on other outside interests and focus more on tennis?


Q. Like any other things you might be into.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely focus on the tennis. But just like every other person in this world, I'm not just a career person. I'm also a person. And it's very important for me to continue to develop myself as a person on and off the court. If I didn't develop myself and have interests outside the court, I feel I would be stagnant and uninteresting. So obviously tennis is my career, where I put most of my time, but also there are other things that interest me.

End of FastScripts….

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