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March 31, 2005

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. You appeared to save your best tennis for the very last game. If you'd played that way the whole match, maybe you could have won.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. But, as they say, no one's ever lost a match from the stands. I just, I think the first problem for me was just I was so tired today. I don't know why. I'm usually not tired. I was just so tired. I think sometimes I went for a shot too quickly because my energy level was low. So sometimes I had some bad shot selections. But other than that, I thought my return could have been better. Definitely missed a few returns. But all in all, it was just a match that was all about the errors I made. When I was not making the errors, I felt things were going my way. I definitely had the speed to run down almost any ball that was going to come on my side.

Q. Did it have anything to do with how well she was playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she played fairly consistent, definitely. Definitely.

Q. What did the errors tell you about where your game is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have to stop making so many errors (smiling).

I think it's as simple as that. But for me it's always been as simple as that.

Q. So there's no technical or fitness or psychological, focus issues?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no, I don't think so. I don't think so. The thing in tennis is you always have another match, so I'll have another match soon against somebody.

Q. After you lost five straight points, the crowd seemed to get behind you, you seemed to rally, really pick your game up in the second set. The crowd getting behind you, did that sort of help you rally?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I guess it was nice, it was a nice atmosphere. I was pretty much focusing on what I had to do. Definitely trying to take my time.

Q. Have you lost some passion for your game? Did your performance in this tournament help you rekindle it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all, I didn't lose any passion.

Q. Do you have any regrets about not playing Indian Wells? Maybe if you would have played, you would have been tougher?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No regrets because I don't like that tournament.

Q. When Zina Garrison asked you to play Fed Cup and you accepted, did she explain to you what your role would probably be in Fed Cup?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, yeah (laughing).

Q. And that was...?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We talked about a number of things, but I haven't talked to her, you know, recently. I really don't know what's going on. I don't want to say anything I'm not supposed to say, so I don't want to talk about it (laughing).

Q. Today she seemed to indicate that Lindsay and Corina have made their mark as a doubles team.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Did a press release come out today or something?

Q. She had a press conference.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, okay. I guess I can talk, can't I? I don't know. Like I said - I didn't say like I said - but as I will say, the US team is a strong team. Obviously, if Serena or Lindsay are unable to play, I'm definitely a good member to fill in the shoes. I think she feels confident about that. It's just I don't think necessarily a matter of, "This player's better or not," it's just kind of going by the ranking.

Q. Did she ask you for a commitment through the year or this particular tie? Obviously, this one is in your backyard probably but the next one could be in Moscow.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It's just so hard these days that I try to only say things that I definitely will do. I won't be able to comment on anything further than this tie.

Q. That's what you told her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't say that. But I'm telling you, yeah.

Q. That's what you're telling us, but you might have told her something different?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, i didn't say that to her.

Q. Can you talk about your overall performance in the tournament.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am definitely executing very well. Like I said, today I just had a little energy level -- I just think that -- I don't know why. It happens to me sometimes, but I don't know why this tournament or this match. So it's kind of bad luck for me.

Q. Do you think that the energy you expended, not only physically but psychologically and emotionally, beating Serena for the first time in a long time, may have zapped you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I mean, that was two days ago almost. Like I said, I don't know why, because normally I'm not tired even after very long matches. And it's not a matter of me being out of shape, I just didn't have the energy today.

Q. After you and Serena play like the other night, like over the last 48 hours, do you guys talk about that match or anything about tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not necessarily. We give each other advice and motivate each other for sure. I think this was a great tournament for me. I'm glad I had a chance to play Serena. I'm glad I had a chance to play this match today. I think every match is very important for me because I'm pretty much willing to do what it takes on the court. Obviously, today Maria played some good tennis. She definitely played good at the right points, so I wish her the best of luck in the final.

Q. What's your approach to fitness and training these days? Do you have a regular schedule you do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I have off weeks, you know, I train. When I'm playing, like, tournaments, there's usually not a lot of time for training. It's matches and practice and rest.

Q. On the off weeks, do you actually get a grid, do you practice every day during your off week, every other day? How do you do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I hit in the morning, I try to train in the afternoon. But some days I take it easy, too. So it's a cycle. Like, my life is really unpredictable, so I don't know what the next day might bring.

Q. Do you see a lot of yourself in a young player like Maria? Can you talk about that. Do you also think that you -- can you improve at this point in your career? Can you get better than you were in your earlier days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, most certainly. I think the reason that I can get better is because I'm an athlete. I got, I guess, really good genes from my mom and dad. I got really fortunate. I just feel like with my ability, that I can always get better. If I wasn't very athletic, I'd probably say no, I probably can improve my mental or my technical side, which of course each person can; that's being honest about it. So I definitely don't see a plateau for myself or Serena.

Q. Venus, you had six breakpoints in that last game. What was your mindset there? Were you thinking you were on the verge of turning the match around?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was a little too far behind the baseline. So when I had a chance to go for some shots, I was too far behind to put a pressure shot per se. So I think next time I'll stay a little closer to the line. Like I said, I just felt this was a good match for me because I probably shouldn't have made so many mistakes, but I'll remember not to next time.

Q. What exactly do you mean by "my life is unpredictable"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: 'Cause I guess I have a lot of things going on. People are always calling, you know: "Can you do this?" "Can you do that?" "Please come here." "Please come there." "Do this." "Do that." I definitely try to keep a balance and I put the tennis first, but there's a number of yeses that have to be said. So I never know what phone call I'm going to get.

Q. Are you able to stick to a schedule?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Usually. Usually. But things come up like you wouldn't believe, and a lot I'm obligated to do for certain reasons. Usually -- of course, I make my schedule three months out. I make my schedule in October for the first half of the year. I tell people, "Tell me in October, then I can book you. But if not, you know, I cannot guarantee." But of course things do come up. And there it is.

Q. How important is the ability to bounce back from a bad loss and really winning big titles and ascending to the top of the women's game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Is this a bad loss?

Q. No, but your opponent had a bad loss last week.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, did she? Oh, yeah. I keep up with my career more or less (laughing). Obviously, she's had some great times. Everybody is guaranteed to have some bad times, too. But if you realize that's the cycle of life, you'll be fine.

Q. What were you telling yourself when you were rising up the rankings if you had a bad loss?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just telling myself, "Wow, V, I really, you know, made it so hard on myself out there. Not only did I have to play my opponent, but I also had to play against me." That's hard to do the whole match. You know, I have to be kinder to myself, basically.

Q. Were you encouraged by your volleying, which is more than we've seen from you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I try to come in when it's appropriate. I'm not necessarily a serve-and-volleyer, but I try to come in when it's appropriate. I feel very positive about my game personally. I'm very excited about my next tournaments coming up. I'm very excited about going on to the clay court season. I feel like today, yes, I didn't win this match, but it's behind me. I feel like I had a lot to do with that. I feel like I played a good player, and I'm going to run into a lot more good players and I'm going to win a lot more matches, too. That sums it up.

End of FastScripts….

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