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August 31, 2005

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Could you talk a bit about the conditions, particularly the wind and what you had to do to accommodate it or deal with it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was deathly windy.

Q. Deathly windy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Deathly windy. Didn't choose a direction. It was just swirling at random. I think it may have gotten worse. I don't know. It was pretty tough to start out with. You know, those conditions, at least I did, tried to add more spin, take some off the serve, try to get the first serve in, you know, those kinds of things. Not go for too much, but of course still play the right shots, try to move forward and be aggressive.

Q. Two matches in, do you feel like you're still working the rustiness out of your game from not having played a lot?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe. I feel like I'm trying to step it up, I will. I feel like I can get the best out of me. The points even today, when they got tighter, she rushed me or attacked me, my game goes up to that next level. I'm feeling pretty confident in my ability to compete.

Q. Is that confidence you're riding still coming off of Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's riding from the 20-odd years of work. Make that 21 of non-stop tennis. I think it's just experience and knowing what it takes.

Q. Have you felt truly tested in the first two matches? Do you feel you've had to go up a notch?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the wind was definitely a test today. It's easy to fumble and easy to self-destruct in those kind of conditions. Obviously, my first-round match I played a little gritty girl. She tried to take it to me, but I was able to stand my ground. You know, you never know when it's your day to go down. I never underestimate anyone. I try to definitely bring the same leave of game out - I try to. Of course, I feel like I get better and better with each round.

Q. Does Andy's loss register with you at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was tough. It was sad. I'd like to see an American win this. He obviously had a great chance. But it happens. It does. That's sports. The best part is that he'll have another chance very soon.

Q. Does it serve as a reminder you can't take anybody for granted or do you know that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think anyone takes anyone for granted on either tour any longer, that's for sure. There are going to be days when you get outplayed, there are. It's usually not going to be every day, but it's sometimes going to be the very day you don't want it to be.

Q. Did you watch that match last night?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was flipping back and forth.

Q. Between?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The '70s show, The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince.

Q. No Mets?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When the Marlins were winning, I was majorly into it. I actually still do very much like baseball. Between all those shows, it's tough.

Q. Ever going to change your TV viewing habits or are you going to stay with the same shows forever?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think till they take them off the air. During the daytime I don't watch TV. My schedule is so intermittent, I'm never home. We just got TiVo at home so Serena and I are both excited. Finally in the modern world. The only time I do watch TV is like at night, around 10. Watch the same thing.

Q. Have you watched any of the coverage of what's going on in New Orleans?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't really watch the news. I mean, I was barely able to get out of the storm because of that. I didn't know it was coming till someone started talking about it from my office. In some ways I'm very unaware of the latest happenings in the world. I kind of leave it like that because sometimes it's better not to know.

Q. You had a lot of wrist snap today. Any pain at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Wrist snap where?

Q. You had good motion on shots.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was trying to add some more spin to keep the ball in. Sometimes I was surprised that they dropped in because it looked like they were going out, but they were pretty solid.

Q. When you watch that '70s show, what do you think when you see the fashions?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a reality show that Serena has me watching. It's not the -- I've never seen that one. It's another one where you have to be really '70s, the most '70s person. She's got me watching the show. It's pretty sad. We joke about how '70s we would be like. "Super Fly."

Q. Real '70s footage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just these kids competing to be the most '70s. If you say something that happened any time outside of the '70s, then you're subject to be thrown out. It's kind of funny after a while. At first you wonder why you're watching it.

Q. Do you TiVo your own reality show?


Q. Did you watch it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We kind of lived it. We kind of knew what was going to happen.

Q. Most surprising thing about doing the reality show?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was pretty easy. That was surprising. I didn't think it would be so easy.

Q. Your mom seemed really pissed in Italy.


Q. Does she get like that often?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not often. When we were younger, we would have been scared. Now we're all grown up, we're a little scared.

Q. Do you like now being kind of the caretaker to your mom?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You'd have to know my mom to understand why you have to take care of her. She's a tough woman. You know, you can't double-cross her. She still gets lost in her own city, those kinds of little things. She's funny.

Q. Do you like the role of taking care of her, calming her down?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah, I love my mom. She's so fun. I get to spend a lot of time with her, at least on the road.

Q. Can you imagine Serena if she had been in the '70s being a Studio 54 gal?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She would have been a "Brickhouse."

Q. Did you do your dress today?


Q. Can you show us?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (Standing up, modeling her dress.)

Q. You know who Ted Tinling was?


Q. What are your thoughts about his wide range in designs?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was fantastic. I heard that some of the dresses were quite heavy to play in, when you hear stories on Billie Jean, all the players that got to play in his dresses. I didn't have that chance. Have to create my own Ted Tinling type thing.

Q. I think TiVo, when you program it, also tries to self-select other programs it thinks you might like.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never programmed it.

Q. Do you know what other programs it might have picked up that you don't normally watch? Tries to predict your viewing habits.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You'd have to ask Serena. I think she may have recorded some before. I've occasionally rewound it. I haven't had a chance to learn how to work it. I just came home and next thing I know, the box was there. Someone set it up for us.

Q. What about The Golden Girls? Still hooked there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Absolutely. After The Golden Girls, after Bea Arthur left, they had The Golden Palace. They're showing that for a limited time. Don Cheadle is in it. We're very excited because we feel like it's an honor. Hey, it is what it is.

Q. A lot of players are filled with self-doubt, but you've never really been like that. Why is that? What do you tell yourself when you're getting a little bit negative?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My mom says, "Fear is nothing but the devil." It's the worst enemy, fear and doubt in these kinds of things. I don't know, from chaos comes clarity.

Q. When you have your toughest days, did you have some doubts?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just had some times that I needed to break away from tennis because I was working hard. A lot of times I wasn't very healthy either. I think that ramified (sic) the issue. In any case, there were times when I just had to take a break and come back into it, kind of step out of the box, a little bit away from tennis, take a week off, get back in there and just keep working at it.

Q. When you caught the flu, did the doctor say it was pretty much flat-out exhaustion and it was bound to happen because you were playing too much, traveling too much?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it happens to me a lot actually. Not a lot. But when I get to that point of too much, then I tend to get sick. But I also tend to always do too much because that's just my personality. What do you call it, Type A?

Q. Do you have a cold or anything now?


Q. You and your sister have been criticized sometimes for not playing enough tournaments. Obviously you've had injury issues. Seems like some players are also curtailing their schedules. Do you think they're looking at you and saying that you really had it right all along?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the wise players are curtailing their schedules. But not everyone can be -- I'm quite blessed. I have the opportunity. I've been able to save a couple dollars. Some players do have to play for a living. I'm not in the situation, fortunately. I do. But some players need this week to week. You know, there's that type of player and there's others who, for whatever reason, they can play a lot and don't suffer from it. But for me, I can't do it. I know that. I just try to do the best I can for me, and at the same time fulfill my commitment.

Q. You talked about taking a week off. What does that mean? Can you totally get away from tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I can't really ever get away from it. It's my marriage, you know.

Q. How is your marriage working out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It has ups and downs like all of them, but it's my marriage. It is what it is. I love it, though, at the end of the day.

Q. What were the repercussions of having won Wimbledon? Looking back now, what did it do for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a beautiful thing, it really is. I mean, sometimes I'll be like sitting around, "Yes, I won Wimbledon." Like a two-year-old, fist pump. It's just exciting any time to win such a championship. I guess what made it so special for me, I would hope for Lindsay also, it was an historic moment. Not so many opportunities you have to be part of history, people look back and say, "Yes, you were a part of this match." I'm sure one day it will be broken, but at least for the time being it's something very special.

Q. You could go back to back to back three times in a row. Last time to do it was Steffi. No guy has done it in the open era. Hard to do. What would it say about you if you pull it off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's fantastic. Steffi was an unbelievable player, probably the greatest ever, although the game is quite different now than the time she played. She was the top and everyone else was quite far, not as powerful. In any case, she was great. I probably will never reach her level of achievements. You know, it would be wrong for me to try to compare myself to her. But in any case, I'll just do what I can. Hopefully that will be something like matching her back to back to back.

Q. When you saw the pictures of your celebration, what were your thoughts about your jump?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, man, it was so exciting. I just always imagined like I would cry under such circumstances, but I couldn't stop laughing. I should have known that I would have laughed.

Q. Thoughts on your own leaping ability?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, the leaping ability came in that April at the Green Day concert. As you know, I'm a diehard Green Day fan. We got all punked out, and had out little punk rock outfits and went to the Green Day concert and I was jumping so high. We went like forwards, kind of the mosh pit area. There's like little kids in there, not heavy. We just had the best time. That's where I got my leaping ability.

Q. Where was that?


Q. Did you dive in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It was at Miami University.

Q. What does "punked out" mean for you? What did that outfit look like?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I had little jean boots. Serena, she had like a jean dress, pink fishnets. I had pearls in mine, pleated skirt, it was kind of gothic with red plaids. I drew on my face, these kinds of things. We were sexy punk rockers.

Q. I'm assuming you were recognized there or not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. But people were fine because they were there to see Green Day, not Venus and Serena.

Q. Was it scary?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. My sister Isha came, she loves Boulevard of Broken Dreams. My other sister Lyn came. Our friend Ron came, lots of people came. It was just a big celebration.

Q. Is that something you don't get to do very often, just to be a normal music fan?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Hardly ever. I never get to -- I have to play. Those moments are very, very special to me because I get to do something I really want to do. Not that I don't want to play tennis, I do, but a lot of things I can't because I have to hit the courts every other tournament.

Q. Did you meet the band?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Never met the guys. My favorite is Mike the bassist, always has been, since '94. You know, one day hopefully.

Q. They didn't know you were there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think they did. We left.

End of FastScripts….

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