January 18, 2005
THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.
Q. You would want to play better than that as the tournament goes on?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I played okay. It was a first-round match. I think when it really mattered, at the 5-All games, I really picked up my game. I think it was good for me to get to that because then I was able to play better. I'm not necessarily worried because I know how to play so...
Q. Seemed to have a bit of trouble getting into a rhythm. Is that because it's the first match, new conditions?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, a little bit. I didn't have the best rhythm today. I had a string of errors, especially in that second set. I kind of felt like I should have been up 5-Love, but instead it was like 3-2 and 4-2. But, you know, you live, you learn - hopefully.
Q. Did you pick the earrings to match your hat, same color?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe (smiling). Yeah.
Q. So what do you carry in the handbag?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've got my phone and my other phone (smiling). And I've got my pass, and I got a few room keys, maybe my wallet, maybe not. But Serena bought that for me.
Q. Did she?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. I didn't bring my wallet that day. Is she good in her taste selection?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're completely different when it comes to taste, right? Yeah.
Q. Eleni had a lot of Greeks, especially in the second set. Did that break your concentration at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Once I stepped out there, I did remember that Melbourne has a large Greek population. No, if anything, it's nice. It's a nice atmosphere, even if it's not exactly for me. But I think they were fair actually, on the good points.
Q. Have you encountered that large Greek population around Melbourne?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. You know, I can't tell the difference, unless they're speaking Greek to me.
Q. Do you have any superstitions in your tennis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I used to, but I don't anymore because I just felt they didn't help me.
Q. What did you used to have?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I used to want to wear the same style dress every time, the same accessories, kind of the same things. Then after a while I realized it was probably the 20-odd years of practice and probably not the dress. So I kind of -- and it was holding my style back, too, strangely enough.
Q. Your next opponent will be a Chinese girl, /PEPBG Shea. Have you ever played with a Chinese girl before?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no, I never played her.
Q. What do you think about the Chinese girls?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think they're very good players.
Q. What's the situation with your clothing? I know that Reebok says you're not under contract now, yet I see you're still wearing it. Are you dealing with them or somebody else?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm dealing with them.
Q. Still dealing with them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-hmm.
Q. But you're not under contract?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't like to get into specifics.
Q. I mean, they say you're not under contract. But you're hoping to continue...
VENUS WILLIAMS: (Smiling).
Q. Who designed that dress that you were wearing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a Diane Vonfurstenburg with Reebok.
Q. Made me a little dizzy.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Did it? Focus on one print, one piece.
Q. How important is it, week one, just to get the job done ahead of week two? That's what it's about, isn't it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. I think it's about never underestimating your opponents and just always building your game, taking it to the next level no matter what the score is.
Q. Is that hard in week one then?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Theoretically, week one should be a little less challenging than week two.
Q. Jim Courier said in the lead-in to the tournament that you and Serena are in a situation now where a lot of players have drawn up level with you and have overtaken you, and you have to concentrate 100% on your tennis to get back with them. Is that comment unfair?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Is it unfair? I think it's definitely an opinion. There's a lot of those floatin' around.
Q. Would you agree with that to any extent?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I suppose that I think Serena and I, we work very hard, just like the next girls.
Q. Some other players have been involved with some of the tsunami relief efforts and stuff. Have you done anything, donating any money, any racquets to raise money?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've been able to help at a couple exhibitions that I played, been able to raise - of course with some other players also - quite a bit of money.
Q. Which exhibitions were they?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I played in Hong Kong, Watson's Water Challenge.
Q. Were you disappointed at the number of errors you made today? You sort of seemed to let her in, back in the second set a little bit.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did have a few errors, yes. But I think I was moving in well on a lot of the short balls.
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