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June 25, 2005

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus Williams.

Q. How did you think you played today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was a good day, for sure. Definitely a good day. I think, you know, the first set was definitely close. In the second set, I think I just maybe lost focus a little bit and missed a few shots, but I was able to regain it which, you know, is the important part.

Q. In patches you played some super tennis, possibly your best tennis, would you say?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I played good today. But I definitely feel like I can pick it up, yeah.

Q. Will you be scouting this afternoon for your next match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've been already at every match almost in her whole career, so...

Q. What are your thoughts about this particular match-up with your sister, if she does win this afternoon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me it's still one match at a time. I'm not really looking ahead too much. Just in the last couple days, my whole focus has definitely been this third round. I definitely felt like Daniela would come out and probably feel like she didn't have anything to lose. And I think she did play that way a lot of the times. So now it's just this match, the next one.

Q. You said you've seen all of Serena's matches. What have been the biggest struggles for her in this tournament in her first two matches and what does she need to overcome to play her best?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she definitely played some players who just played really well, who came out really swinging and striking. That happens, especially at Grand Slams. People try to win. That's all there is to it.

Q. What are your observations of her mobility and the difficulties with her ankle?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. Lindsay said before she was kind of disappointed you weren't seeded higher, that they didn't do more to help your seeding considering your history here; it was kind of a shame you and Serena might face each other so early in the tournament. Can you talk about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, Lindsay's always been very nice. We play in Fed Cup in Moscow. We'll have even more unity, I guess.

Q. Do you agree with her? Do you think it was unfair?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To be honest, I didn't give it much thought.

Q. You've played your sister so many times. The first couple times we made a great to-do about it. Is it less involved now when you play her than three, four, five years ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think there's, like, still much -- I guess a lot of people still looking forward to us playing, for sure. People still make a big deal out of it. I think it will be like that forever, to be honest.

Q. How much are you looking forward to it? She's got you 7-6 in the rivalry.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Like I say, this is my destiny, the fourth round. I'm trying to make my destiny obviously quarterfinals.

Q. What was the key to the breakthrough in Miami? You hadn't beaten her in almost four years before that. Was there something going on on court? Was it motivational? Did you change strategy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think that it's just really unusual for me to be down in a series against any player, and also for me to lose consecutive matches against a player also. Just in general I usually at least keep the series even - most likely ahead.

Q. So your level right now compared to where it was a few weeks ago, you played very well today in spots, going into the next week, are you confident you can keep that up? Do you feel like you have to step up another level even beyond what you did today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm always looking to step up another level.

Q. How do you feel about today, where the game was overall?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Today is a good game. A lot of times the ball's not bouncing this year, it doesn't seem. It's very low. So it's definitely more challenging to play so many balls below the net. I feel like, you know, Daniela today, she hits fairly flat, so the ball's always low. Maybe not as much time, maybe not the best position to hit it in. So it really depends a lot on each player, too - if you're playing in an area you're used to playing at or if you have to play in something that you're not really used to.

Q. The other day Serena spoke of the motivation of getting to three Wimbledon titles ahead of you. Can you describe your thoughts on that same issue.

VENUS WILLIAMS: My whole motivation is to do my best for me. I'm totally happy with Serena wins. I don't measure my success or measure my achievements against anyone else's because I think that's unfair to me. I shouldn't have to be measured against anyone.

Q. Have you heard her say before that was really on her mind last year when she played Sharapova?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Was it? She probably just said that.

Q. Are you conscious of having had a role in creating more interest in tennis in the US over the past years? If so, is that something you take a lot of pride in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think for sure. Tennis is what I do, and any time you can bring more acceptance or coverage to what you do, it makes me proud. To be able to be a part of my sport and be a part of the history, be able to make a difference in some way, it's always pretty good.

Q. I know you were quite young when you started playing. Do you have memories of one particular player inspiring you or motivating you? What would be your earliest memory of a player? Maybe it would be a parent.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Usually Serena.

Q. Really?


Q. Can you talk about what it's like to have your dad around at the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, he makes friends with everyone. Everyone, I mean, really they're on his side - the drivers, the security, players. Everybody likes my dad. He's just very friendly.

Q. What was he doing during the match? Daniela, was she talking to him? He had a shoe in his hand.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no idea.

Q. What is it like for him as your primary coach? He doesn't go to a lot of tournaments these days. How is that different for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He goes to about half the tournaments actually, half the tournaments of the year. It's always good. I like working with my dad a lot.

Q. Do you sit down before the match and have a strategy session with him?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A little bit. But my dad always says, "Stay relaxed and have fun." That's the main game plan.

Q. Compared to the heady heights of a few years ago here at Wimbledon, obviously you're on a slightly lower plane. Some people are adopting the view you're not the player you were, maybe your hunger isn't the same. Is any of that true? How important is it for this year for you to really put in a good performance, even if it means beating your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What's the question?

Q. The question is, do you feel you've slipped from where you were? If that is the case, how determined are you to try and get back? Do you feel that's going to be very difficult?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think anything worthwhile is a challenge. So I'm really ready to challenge myself in whatever way it takes.

Q. You're still hungry to get back to where you were? It's not something that you don't see as an impossible task?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Right (smiling).

Q. Serena spoke the other day about how she has the best chance of winning this tournament because of her mental toughness. What are your thoughts on your mental toughness?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely agree with her. She's definitely one of the most mentally tough out there. Definitely a survivor and a fighter - and a good player.

Q. What about your mental situation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. Definitely, you know, I'm at my best when I'm down matchpoint. That's when I play even better.

Q. Does your dad still give you guys pep talks or has it gotten so many years of being coached, it's gotten beyond that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. We definitely keep our professionalism up. We get pep talks. We realize we have to definitely reform, change and try to be better. Definitely got one of those after the last match (laughter). I like to try to avoid those. I like to feel like I'm doing it all right, but it's not always the case.

Q. Did you get one after the kid beat you in Paris?


Q. As you know your sister's game so well, do you know how to beat her? Will you know on Monday how you can beat her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I do know how.

Q. Serena said she was competing better than she was playing right now. How do you feel?


Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: A little of both. It's always a little of both for sure. You have to be able to compete when you're not playing as well. You need to be able to play pretty decent most of the time, too. So it's really about it all and at least one of them kicking in.

Q. What's kicking in for you right now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A little of both.

Q. Of all your matches with your sister, what memory or memories stand out most in the rivalry?

VENUS WILLIAMS: At this exact moment, I can't pick one.

Q. What do you think it will be when you step on the court to play her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'll just be focused, just like all other matches. That's what it takes. You can't be out there with your head thinking all kinds of other things. You have to be focused on your game.

Q. What is the worst memory you have of facing your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely probably the Indian Wells. I didn't even get a chance to play on that one.

Q. Can you take us back to 2000 here when you played Serena in the semifinals. She was still a little bit of a babe in the woods. You beat her significantly, went off court with your arm around her. Some memories from.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't know I was going to have to pull out the memory bank today. I think Serena double-faulted on matchpoint. She never really double-faults. I think she was upset about that. I was just like, "Let's get off the court and try to move on." We may have even had to play doubles that day. Obviously she didn't let me down on that, because we won the doubles in that year, too.

Q. You were playing the older-sister-consoling role then than maybe now when she's grown up. Has it changed that way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Because we were always taught to take care of each other - especially me being the older sister. For me, it's just kind of second nature.

Q. Are you staying together or separate? Do you spend time off the court together here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We stay together.

Q. What is the conversation going to be over the weekend?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Strawberries and cream.

End of FastScripts….

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