August 26, 2003
NEW YORK CITY
MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Can you talk about how you got involved in tennis in the first place, just your evolution as a player.
ANGELA HAYNES: Well, I have a brother and a sister, and my dad also played. Being the youngest, I would tag along to practice. One day, my dad just decided to get me a racquet. And the rest is history.
Q. How old were you then?
ANGELA HAYNES: Three. Three years old.
Q. Why so late?
ANGELA HAYNES: (Laughing).
Q. Compton, California is kind of a famous tennis address now. Did you have any connection with the...
ANGELA HAYNES: The Williams sisters?
ANGELA HAYNES: Yeah, I was young. I never hit with them. My brother would play sets with Serena every day. My dad used to drill Serena -- Venus. Her and my sister would hit. But we trained with each other for a couple years, then we moved, and they went their separate ways.
Q. Where did you move?
ANGELA HAYNES: Where did I move? To Bellflower (phonetic). I think that's when they moved to Florida -- or, no. I don't know. I really can't tell you.
Q. Has there been any touch, communication? Are you in with Richard, is your father in touch with Richard?
ANGELA HAYNES: Every blue moon Richard calls my dad. But, no. No, we really don't talk.
Q. Do you wish that you could have more contact with Venus and Serena being that they're where you want to be? You're from the same neighborhood.
ANGELA HAYNES: That's always nice, you know, being at the level they are. Some pointers, they wouldn't hurt me at all, yeah. That would be nice (smiling). But, you know, as long as I stay on this level, I'm sure I'll get a chance to talk to them.
Q. When is the last time you actually talked to them or saw them somewhere?
ANGELA HAYNES: I talked to Venus a couple months ago like when the NASDAQ was going on , then. Not very long, though.
Q. Is it an opposition for you to be, because of the connections of hometown and to be a young African American, that there's going to be -- people are going to eye you as, "Is she the next Serena or Venus?"
ANGELA HAYNES: You know what, I'd only be me. People, yeah, they always ask, "Are you gonna be the next Venus and Serena?" I'm not Serena. I'm not built like her. I'm not as tall as Venus. I may not have the power they have. You know what, I can only play my game and do my best. Sometimes it puts a lot of pressure on me. "Yeah, you got to do this, you know." But, no, that's not me. I'm just gonna go out there and give the best I have.
Q. What do you think your game is like, if you picked a player out there?
ANGELA HAYNES: You know, I don't know. I don't know. I can do everything, really, you know. I like the power game but, you know, if somebody wants to hit me a lot of slices, I could slice back. I could serve and volley. I could do all of that, so... I have an all-around game.
Q. Were you at any point close to going to school? Are you happy with the course you're on?
ANGELA HAYNES: Yeah, yeah. I never really wanted to go to school, you know. School is always gonna be there. I didn't want to be all -- 'cause, you know, agents and things like that, companies, they make players feel bad. When you get like 20 and, "Hey, I want a contract," they're like, "She's too old." They want a 14-year-old. That makes players feel really bad. That's one reason why I didn't consider school. Yeah, tennis, always my first priority.
Q. Speaking of clothes, your dad said you bought the adidas outfit you had on in that match. I was wondering if you could talk about some of the financial hardships, just keeping this dream alive until everybody, you know, comes up with help.
ANGELA HAYNES: It was very tough. It's just me and my dad. My dad is really all I have. We got here by ourselves really, you know. I knew I wasn't gonna get any help. So, really, like this is my first full year on the tour. And last year, when that age eligibility rule was up for me, I did awful, really. You know, I was just laid back, looking like for a handout. But when I realized that wasn't gonna happen, I really had to step it up. And I really -- I have to do this for myself. Right now I'm not asking for help; help would be nice. But, you know, it always helps to win.
Q. Do you feel like, "Now they loosen the age restriction rules, now that I'm 18 and it doesn't matter"? Did that go through your head at all?
ANGELA HAYNES: Oh, yeah, that was great. I played every single tournament this year. Started from the challengers, started off in January. Like I was 850, like 849, my ranking. I was like, "I'm gonna play every tournament this year. I gotta do good." The results were great, so...
Q. How do you feel about the big picture of your career, where you are, and when do you see yourself getting where you want to go?
ANGELA HAYNES: You know, that's hard for me to say, you know. It's always hard for me to say where I want to be. I want to be Top 50 this year. That would be nice. But, you know, people tell me in a couple months I could be, like, Top 30. But I give myself a year, another year, to be where I want to be, to get comfortable, you know, playing these girls week in, week out. You just, you know, you learn their games, you get used to playing in front of the crowd. So, yeah, six months to a year I give myself.
Q. Sounded like the crowd was pretty much behind you today. Did you hear that?
ANGELA HAYNES: Oh, the crowd?
ANGELA HAYNES: Yeah, I don't know where that came from, but it was nice. It was a little different. But they helped me through it, you know. It's always nice to hear people cheer for you. Got me a little relaxed out there.
Q. Have you been coached by anybody else other than your father?
ANGELA HAYNES: Actually, I used to -- not long, I trained with Elliott Telcher (phonetic), Robert Van't Hof. That's about it. That's it.
Q. How does that work with you and your dad, because there's a father-child relationship, then coach?
ANGELA HAYNES: Oh, it's tough. It's real tough. Especially for him. Him, I expect him, "Okay, you're my coach right now." We get off the court, I don't want to hear nothing about tennis. I'm constantly on my dad's case. Plus, I'm pretty rebellious. It's hard for him. It's hard for me, too, you know. But we're very close, and that's the way it has to be. That's how it always will be. But, yeah, my dad will always be my number one coach.
Q. Does the rebellious streak come from him?
ANGELA HAYNES: Oh, yeah. He says it doesn't, but it does (smiling).
Q. You mentioned the pressure of people trying to put that tag on you of being the next...
ANGELA HAYNES: Venus and Serena?
Q. Did their success at all show you a kid from Compton can make it?
ANGELA HAYNES: Yeah, yeah. It was pretty inspiring to see them, you know, do the things that they did. They're great players. It's possible for anybody, but it really opens up the gate for people like me and people in those kind of neighborhoods, you know. Keep the dream alive. It's possible. With hard work and dedication, anybody can do it.
Q. Do you see, whether it's a crowd out there today or kids coming up to you, people are starting to look to you that way?
ANGELA HAYNES: Yeah. I better start watching what I do, you know (laughing). But, yeah, it's exciting. The kids, it's really nice to see kids out there watching and asking for autographs. That makes me feel very good.
Q. What was the last autograph you asked for, can you remember how old you were and who it was?
ANGELA HAYNES: Agassi. I think I was -- I don't know how old I was. Maybe nine. Agassi's always been --
Q. Did he sign?
ANGELA HAYNES: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I had this huge poster.
Q. Where was it?
ANGELA HAYNES: He signed it.
Man, you know what, I cannot remember. I really can't.
Q. So will you stay and watch his match?
ANGELA HAYNES: Oh, yeah, I'm watching tonight. And Andy, because I love Roddick. He's great.
Q. What do you like about Andy: His personality, his game?
ANGELA HAYNES: Yeah, everything. I mean, he's an entertainer. Off the court he's a great guy, you know. He gives you the whole package when you come out there and watch him. You could watch a tennis match for the first time and be like, "Wow," you know. He's got it all.
Q. Did you ever play other sports, or has it always been tennis?
ANGELA HAYNES: No, I'm no good at any other sport. Tennis, that's it.
Q. Can you talk about what it meant to you when your grandparents went back to work to help finance your tennis?
ANGELA HAYNES: Oh, that was... That was like... Blew me away, man. 'Cause, you know, tennis is very expensive, for one, you know. And they are so behind me in my career, and that really meant a lot to me, you know. They're just like, "Do everything you can. Play every tournament you can. Do well." That meant a lot.
Q. What are their names?
ANGELA HAYNES: Joe and Lucy Haynes.
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