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January 22, 2005

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus, please.

Q. It seemed you had a bit of a slow start, then it went all right from there.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wouldn't say it was just a slow start. But she just played a different-pace game, so I pressed a little too much and was hitting the balls a bit long. I needed to add some spin because, you know, she's the kind of player where you don't want to get caught up playing her game. That's when things can really get kind of strange. So I kept with my game, playing aggressive, and worked through the errors.

Q. Pleased with the way it all went?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely, definitely. I was hitting out on the ball. I probably could have came in more. But other than that, I think I played well, yes.

Q. You look a little bundled up, kerchief. Are you finding it cold here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Just haven't combed my hair. Bad hair day (laughter).

Q. Can you talk about your next round, playing Molik.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Playing Molik, yeah. We were destined to meet, I guess. This will be a huge match for her in Australia. I've played a lot of huge matches in my life. I couldn't classify this as the largest. Probably the biggest match this year.

Q. So does that give you an advantage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: On paper, sure. But in the end, I need to get out there and play well. Likewise, the same for her.

Q. What do you think about the possible return of Martina Hingis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, well, I always thought it was sad that she retired in the first place. And I just think that if she can come back and if she can make it, that would be very, first of all, good for tennis, and obviously good for her. But in the end it just matters that she's happy. She's really a nice person.

Q. When you and Serena came along, people talked about you being athletes and everything. Now there's a new generation. Do you think Molik is a new kind of more impressive athlete in terms of how tall and strong she is, the way she moves on the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's like the trend. I used to be the tallest, but not any more. And by no means the largest. I never could bulk up (laughter). But I guess that's the way it is. The larger girls are starting to be the better players. I guess making it through the Juniors much more successfully possibly than the smaller girls.

Q. Have you seen Alicia developing? You're not too surprised she's finally gotten up there with the better players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't seen her developing. I don't know. I haven't been following her progress necessarily. But she's close to being in the Top 10. I didn't even realize. That's really awesome for her. I can tell she's probably very motivated by that.

Q. She obviously has a lot heavier game than Anna, than you played today. How do you change your approach?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably not too much. Obviously with Anna, she's like a backboard, so you have to be willing to hit a lot of balls. Obviously, against Alicia tomorrow, I'll have to be willing to hit a lot of balls too. But in a lot of ways similar, too, because they both have a lot of spin on the ball. Either way, I'm going to stay with my game (smiling).

Q. I can't recall that you would have played a match before against an Australian player who the crowd would have thought had a chance to beat you. What do you think the crowd would be like on Monday? How do you think they will support the match, how they will treat you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think definitely they'll be supporting Alicia. I would imagine they'll be fair on the good shots. But I've played in front of all kinds of crowds before. In the end, I just am more or less looking at the ball, and then after the match, that's when I relax.

Q. How do you feel when so many of the favorites are winning their matches; not too many surprise results?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, it's good. I don't want any surprises as far as my games or Serena's game. Yeah, the women's draw has been holding pretty much. So there will be some good match-ups.

Q. As years go by, one of the defining moments for you when you were young here was the beads all over the court and stuff like that. What do you think about when you think of Venus Williams back in those days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In the '90s (smiling)? I had fun. Always had fun. Win, lose or draw, I always have fun. I always have good memories. Even last year, I only got to the third round, but I just remember having so much fun. For me, those are my memories. Whether I won or lost, I just remember how much I enjoy my time, my life, my career.

Q. What about the brass tacks of the match-up with Alicia? What do you have to do well to beat her? What are you aware of in her game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me it's all about consistency and errors. Even if I make a lot of errors, usually I'm winning the match. But the less errors I make, the tougher it is for my opponent. So for me, no errors. At that rate, it will be a very competitive match.

Q. Just recently Charlie Bell from McDonald's, the chairman, passed away. I think he was the first non-American chairman. You have an association with him. What are your thoughts?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena and I were like really shocked when we heard that because we've been partners with McDonald's for a few years now. We did the first World Children's Day with Charlie Bell. He was just so nice and so kind to us, and he supported all of our initiatives also that we were doing as far as being involved with kids, the underprivileged programs and things like that. It was just really, really sad. We've been doing our best to like concentrate on the tennis, but there is that part where, you know, we're really upset because we really, really liked being around and working with him. It was a sad day for us.

Q. Is the coaching your mum when she's here now or are you talking to your father as well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my dad shoots me emails. They're saying the same thing (smiling). I need to do it. So my mom, yeah, is here. He sends me pictures of like good technique. He'll say -- he'll send me a little picture on my little phone. It's a reminder for what I should be doing. Makes me feel guilty sometimes.

Q. Pictures of you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pictures of me. Yeah, you know he takes a lot of pictures. He has a whole, I don't know, chronicle of my life on court.

End of FastScripts….

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