January 20, 2005
THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus.
Q. That match looked a lot more comfortable for you than the first round.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you can't expect every match to be perfect. First round for me still was a very good match because I got to hit a lot of balls. With each match I'm playing better, serving better, returning better. My movement's top-notch. Looking forward to playing better with each round, basically.
Q. What were you most pleased about with your match today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Still had a few errors. I definitely want to bring those down. But just in general I think my game was very solid. I think when I needed my serve, it was there. When I needed to get to the ball, I was there. When I needed to make my shots so... Basically, just on the up-and-up.
Q. Were you getting a little antsy waiting? The match before went longer than you probably anticipated.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I expected such, yeah. So wasn't like I was going to get an hour match ahead of me. Only when you're not ready and then someone pulls out, then you got to rush, rush, rush, get taped and all this stuff.
Q. Do you feel like this tournament is kind of there for the taking for you; that there's kind of a pretty open field and that you're coming at the right time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's definitely the right mindset to have, absolutely. No matter what happens, whether you played well, whether you played badly, whether you made good decisions or bad ones, mentally you always have to feel like it's your turn to take to win. I think that's definitely the best mindset.
Q. What did you think of her game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she's very good, very talented, very good. She definitely should have a very good future.
Q. I don't know how much you watched, there's like five Chinese players in the draw. Could they have the potential of being the next Russian contingent coming up?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not making any predictions. I want to worry about myself because I've got my own problems so (smiling)...
Q. Such as...?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't quite get into it. I'm not allowed to talk about it (laughing).
Q. Just a few of us?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've been on ban (laughing). Serena has the same problem, but different, but the same. We're not allowed to talk about it (laughing).
Q. Is that little patch on your knee just for good luck? You've had that many times before.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've had it many times before. It's not an issue.
Q. It's basically for what?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Pain.
VENUS WILLIAMS: But I'm fine. It's not hurtin'.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the pink socks that you had on today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just my accessories. They're wristbands and I wanted to wear them there, yeah.
Q. Because you felt like it or...?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just -- yes, actually (laughing). I was mad because I didn't have any earrings to match. Actually, Serena gave me these, so... They brought me a bit of luck, I think.
Q. How do you think you're hitting the ball right now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Solid. Definitely solid. I would like to have a little more spin. Sometimes I'm a little far from the ball. At my height I need to kind of be in perfect position a lot of the times, so I have to work maybe a bit harder than the shorter player. But also in other ways I have so many advantages. But hitting well.
Q. Do you feel like you're a little bit under the radar this year so far?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Under the radar?
Q. With the drug situation, just sort of from an attention standpoint.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't watch the TV or read the paper, so I can't even say.
Q. Does it feel like it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Hmm... Like I said, I don't watch the TV or read the papers. If I do, it's on mute. I hate propaganda and hype, so I've stayed away from it for ages now - except when I'm in here.
Q. Have you talked to Zina about Fed Cup?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I was actually thinking that I need to text her.
Q. It's in your backyard.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I heard, yeah, it's in Delray. I think I had a commitment before, but now I don't. I just found that out this morning. So I'm really excited. I love Zina. She's a great person. I love Billie Jean King, too, though. It's kind of equal how much I love both of them. They're extremely motivating and it's nice also to work with someone a little bit different because I think a lot of time when you work with the same coach, you get a little bit numb, you don't listen as much. When I get to Fed Cup, it's like, "You know, they're saying the same things, I think I need to listen now." So it's nice to work with them, I love them both.
Q. Your results were a little disappointing the second half of last year. When you're coming into a new year like this, what did you kind of resolve to do differently or what could you do differently to try to change that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Play better.
Q. What do you do to play better? What do you do to prepare to play better?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You just continue the battle - prepare better, play better, think better, be better. Always better.
Q. Taking yourself out of the picture, how do you see the tournament shaping up?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I can't be out of the picture (smiling). I can't.
Q. Your dad recently said that if you and Serena dedicated yourselves 100% to tennis you could be No. 1 and 2 again. What do you think about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I guess he's right. I didn't hear him say it. When did he say that?
Q. He said if you dedicated yourself 100% to tennis...
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm late to practice sometimes and then I feel real guilty. So I think he hates when I'm late.
Q. He what?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He hates when I'm late. But now that like I'm an adult, I think it's harder for him to say -- you know, there's a fine line between dad and coach. I think sometimes he has to not say as much as maybe he wants to.
Q. One possible fourth-round match we in Australia would look forward to would be you against Molik. Do you think she's playing well enough to beat you at the moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, absolutely wonderful player. So graceful, so talented. She absolutely deserves everything that she's got. You can tell she's working hard. If it will be, if we can make it happen, both of us, it will be a great match.
Q. Do you think she's playing well enough to beat you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I think she's playing well enough? Why would I say that? She's playing very well, but I don't want to concede a win right now to my opponent, doesn't matter if she's Australian or not.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.