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January 24, 2005

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus, please.

Q. You were always in the match, weren't you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely didn't produce my best tennis today, that's for sure. It was definitely a match I definitely should have won. But I'll be ready for the next time.

Q. What made the difference today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I feel like I just -- I just wasn't hitting it cleanly enough. I felt like my movement wasn't as good as the previous rounds. And I think I was just -- I just wasn't correcting my errors immediately as I would normally do.

Q. Was that a tough atmosphere to be in? Obviously, this is a big thing for them. They haven't had somebody --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, obviously, I mean, in this country, this is going to be a big match. In any other country, it's not going to be a big match at all. So, you know, it is what it is. So I wish her best of luck.

Q. How are you feeling condition-wise? Do you think you had enough coming into the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Condition? Coming into the tournament, like?

Q. In terms of match practice.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, this is definitely one of the tougher tournaments to win because you don't have the opportunity to get out there and play tons of matches. So this is one event where you have to definitely be a hundred percent going into the event. There's no room for error. That definitely makes it one of the tougher ones to win. But, yeah, I feel like I had the best preparation that I could have given myself.

Q. Do you still feel as competitive in Grand Slams as you did three, four years ago?


Q. What's changed since then? Not just injuries and things, but has anything changed mentally, perhaps, that's stopping you from winning them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just feel like you win some, you lose some. And I feel like that was one I definitely should have won. I just was off of my rhythm.

Q. When you were winning the Grand Slams, you were going through matches, winning sets easily, matches easily. It didn't seem to be coming to you quite as easily as it was.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I feel like - like I said - this is a tough tournament to win because of the timing of it. You have to definitely be on immediately. I feel like I was playing well, but tonight I was just off a bit. And can't afford to do that.

Q. You say there's not a lot of chances getting ready to play this tournament. There are two weeks before this. Would you consider playing warm-up tournaments before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. For me I don't think it's good because it's too taxing for me. I can't play like a lot of tournaments like that.

Q. Lindsay said earlier today that she thought the tournament would be better off in like the end of February, beginning of March. Obviously, that's a problem with the Australian summer. What is your feeling on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (No response).

Q. Are you saying it wasn't timed in the right spot?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm just saying that you need to be ready right away. But as far as whether it should be moved, it's a moot topic.

Q. How is her first serve and her second serve? How does that rank in terms of serves you've played against recently?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She has a good serve.

Q. Do you sense a lot of change in her game the last year, two years or so?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously she's playing better. But I just didn't play that well. So normally if I'm playing 5% better, this match is going to be mine. You know, I'll definitely come back in the next tournament, the next event, and I'm definitely going to play better. No doubt.

Q. Where is the next tournament, by the way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Playing Antwerp.

Q. Can you see Alicia Molik winning this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, it's out of my hands now.

Q. Do you think she's capable?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I kind of want Serena to win, so. That's my horse now.

Q. Does Alicia have the game to trouble Lindsay Davenport?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, Lindsay's No. 1 in the world right now. That certainly says a lot about her tennis. So, you know, it will be a good match.

Q. Is this a similar feeling to last year when you lost to Lisa Raymond or is it a completely different story?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's always better to win, most certainly. In many ways, of course the same.

Q. What's on your schedule after Antwerp?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Playing Dubai and Miami.

Q. What goals did you set for yourself coming into the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, definitely I wanted to win the event, obviously. A few rounds short of that. But I'll just go home and work a little harder, ask my mom what I was doing wrong out there today. I couldn't quite get a handle on, you know, what was going wrong. I think that hurt me a lot today.

Q. What do you think you were doing wrong?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't thought about it yet. I need to think about it.

Q. You still obviously feel deep down you can win Grand Slams?


Q. Is there one thing that has to change for that to happen again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say it's the same thing for you. If you take some time off from writing, there's no doubt you can still write. So I can still play. So there's no doubt about that.

Q. But have the other players caught up? I mean, obviously you and Serena brought a different type of game to tennis, a different level. Have they caught up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say players are playing better, but I would definitely also say that when I'm playing well, I feel like I'm the best. And today was not my best, absolutely not my best.

Q. Is it getting more and more frustrating each time something like this happens?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wouldn't say it's fun. Obviously, no. I go into each match feeling like that I should be able to win each match. But the best part about tennis is that it's not just once every four years; I'll play next week.

Q. When was the last time you felt you were playing consistently well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Third round.

End of FastScripts….

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