March 12, 2001
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.
Q. Is that a preventative measure on the knee (referring to wrap on right knee)?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. Or did you tweak it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It was just a preventative measure just so I can keep continuing on my campaign of pain-free.
Q. Where do you think your game is roughly right now in terms of where you'd like it to be for the peak times in the year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my game's doing actually very well. I'm doing a lot better as the year's gone on. It's March already. This is my third event. I feel a lot better about my game, especially compared to my last tournament in France. I'm definitely doing well.
Q. Did you get a little overly excited each time you were serving for the set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my grip was slipping. I kind of shanked it.
Q. Why no doubles this time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. My knee's a little sore. I can't do too much.
Q. Is the knee sore all the time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.
Q. Every couple days?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Do you want the exact time schedule? 8:30 in the morning, I feel a little stiff. By 9:00, I've warmed up (laughter). No, I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm out here playing. If I wasn't okay, I'd just be right at home. It's good enough to be playing on.
Q. There's been much discussion today about the event last night. Only one of the Top-10 players showed up apparently. You got the top award of the year and you didn't show up. Is there a reason for that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, I heard it was a wonderful event. I was really sad that I couldn't go. It wasn't possible. I really wanted to play possibly the night match so I could get on over there last night, but it just didn't happen.
Q. The fact that it got over by 8:20, that didn't give you enough time when you didn't play till this afternoon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been tough for me because I'm still on east coast time. By the time 8:20 comes around, to me it feels close to 12:00. It's just been tough. You know, I had the opportunity of going, I hoped, but it just didn't work out.
Q. You might play Dementieva, who you've beaten. Can you talk a little about her type of game, how good you think she is, how good you think she could be?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she's had a win over me in her career, over Lindsay at the Chase. She's very consistent. She moves very well. Those are some of her strong points. She also has a lot of power. She seems to be pretty confident about her game.
Q. Did she surprise you last year? Is that a player that you thought you had to change the way you think about her as the year progressed or did you see her coming?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure.
Q. A year ago at this time, going into this tournament, she was a player who if you saw coming up in the draw, you might say, "I know a little about her, but she's a Top 50 type." Now all of a sudden only a year later, she has a Grand Slam semifinal, a Chase semifinal. Is that a surprise to you or is that a player a year ago you would have picked out?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I don't think I really would have picked her out because I didn't know her. Eventually I ran up into her at Federation Cup and we had a tough match there. Actually, I met her in '99, seen her coming along. You know, I didn't know where she would go from there. I didn't really concentrate on her results after that. I concentrated on my game. But she's done well for herself.
Q. She credits that match as the turning point in her career.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, really?
Q. To you, it's just another win (sic)?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Another win I didn't get, I guess.
Q. Are you working out more with Serena or with other hitting partners most of the time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes we have different practice schedules, different times we play our matches. She hit a little earlier than what I did today, so she hit with a partner. I hit a little later, so I had to hit with a partner. Normally we hit with each other, especially at home.
Q. You may be heading towards hitting against each other in another round. How do you feel about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It just hasn't happened that often, four or five times. I guess it's a lot more times than I've played a lot of other players. You know, it's bound to happen. It's going to happen in the semifinals. Hopefully we'll both get there.
Q. What could you tell us about this chain or string of international academies or camps that you have, that the Williams family has, international tennis camps? What is that all about?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I wouldn't be able to tell you anything. I'm not sure what you're talking about.
Q. A press release came out today saying that you and Serena and your dad are coming out with a label of water that has 800 percent more oxygen in it than normal bottled water, and some of the proceeds are going to go to fund this string of international tennis camps and academies that the Williams family has. You don't know anything about it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You have to talk to my dad about it.
Q. Are you really that much out of the loop on the commercial stuff? Do you kind of let your dad handle all that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes. If things get down to the crucial stages, sure, I want to know what I'm going to be involved in, naturally.
Q. Does this sound like a crucial stage to you, that you're going to be opening up tennis academies around the world?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'll have to talk to him and see.
Q. When are you going to work that into your schedule?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know (laughter). Have to clone myself.
Q. Are you about done with fashion school? Is that going on much longer?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm thinking about not going back this fall. Not forever, but postponing it. I miss the European tournaments a lot in the fall. I really like going over there. I really missed it the last two years. You know, then again, I really would like to finish as soon as possible. Just have to hold out and see.
Q. Are you still doing your newspaper?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh.
Q. Just whenever you feel like it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It hasn't been published in quite a few months now.
Q. Time for another.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It is. It is. If you want to type it up, give me a call.
Q. You can scan it.
VENUS WILLIAMS: You're right. You're right. Hopefully we can get it a little more professionally done. It was a nice newsletter, but it was like a high school newsletter. Maybe now we'll add some pictures.
Q. Serena is still in high school age.
VENUS WILLIAMS: She's almost out of the teens. She finished high school maybe '98, yeah.
Q. Is Dementieva one of those players where you pretty much have to bring your A game to beat her or is she still a notch below?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I really think you have to bring your A game against all the players now because players are less intimidated, and really they're just trying to get a win for themselves and bring their games up. Especially if you let them back into the match, they really start to get confident, they swing a little bit faster. I think everyone, you have to just come out and take it to them immediately.
Q. How well did you have to play to beat her the last time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The Olympics?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she was a little bit nervous. I don't know how anyone couldn't be nervous playing in a gold medal match. I guess I was a little nervous, too. I guess I'm a little experienced and better able to get through the nerves than she was. The second set was 6-4, so that was a little tough. I really just wanted to close that match out as soon as possible. Things started getting close at the end, so I was happy to close it out.
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