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January 24, 2003

Venus Williams


MODERATOR: Questions for Venus and Serena. Please keep questions to doubles only.

Q. I know you can win any doubles you want, any way you want to play. I wonder if you're ever going to follow your serves to the net?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think a lot of times we do follow our serves to the net.

Q. I guess I missed it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We just get a lot of service winners or the net person kind of gets the ball. You know, we love the doubles. Of course, we understand the best opportunities are at the net.

Q. I can't fault the Williams way.


SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's definitely good if we come to the net eventually. We're always trying to add a little extra in our games.

Q. Seemed to me they were lobbing you a lot. What was your thought process?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We knew coming into the match that they were going to do a lot of lobs because they're pretty much -- that's their game, hitting a lot of lobs, especially for us that close too much. We knew that going into the match. It wasn't like we didn't expect it.

Q. Singles skills against doubles skills, power against doubles skills, would that be a fair assessment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we definitely practiced our doubles tactics before. We went out and had a doubles practice. We know that they're very good at doubles, that they're playing all the time, they're very experienced. They're able to see the ball a little better in a doubles situation, much better than what we would. We have to just use everything that we have, our experience, we have so much experience of being in tight situations and still winning. I think that's what we used today. And, of course, our serves.

Q. Even though you knew how they played, were you surprised they had a very high level of tennis, especially in the first set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I looked at Venus and I said, "They're playing very well." Because obviously they haven't won the Australian Open yet, and they're one of the best teams last year - probably the best team consistently also. I think they really, really wanted to win this title. That makes you really want to fight harder and just go out there and do even better than normal.

Q. With all the breaks they had in the third game of the first set, they were able to go 3-Love, were you really worried? You were close to being broken.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, Serena wasn't worried at all. In fact, I was the one a little worried because I just kept missing. I was so disappointed in myself. I could hardly get past that. But she helped me get past that. That's why I play with her. I wouldn't be able to do it with anyone else, honestly. The hold was so important.

Q. Could you talk about your 26-minute game in the third set.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was 26 minutes?

Q. And seven deuces, six deuces.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I just kept thinking, "Okay, I'm serving." When I'm serving, I'm just not going to lose serve. I don't care how many times I lost serve previously, I just said, "I'm serving, I'm not going to lose serve here." I just kept fighting. I said, "Don't worry, Venus, this is our serve. Second serve and all, I'm going to keep fighting." I came in a few times, hit some decent volleys. I said, "I'm not going to lose serve here." I didn't want to lose serve there at all.

Q. For somebody who didn't see the match, you beat Davenport-Raymond 2-2, pretty good team, then you have a match like today. How could you explain you had so much difficulty today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the girls came out and played really, really good. I think we were pretty much down the whole match except all of a sudden we were up 5-3. It just happened so quickly. We focused on just closing it out. That's really what happened. They were just so good. They ran everything down, they got everything back, they hit all their best shots. It was just really all of a sudden like we won the match so quick.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's just that these girls today I think played a better game. Yesterday I think Venus and I played a little better also because we knew we were -- I think we're facing a faster team, maybe we were just a little more prepared to face Davenport and Raymond as opposed to them. We knew they were going to lob today, we knew they were going to try to do some soft balls. I think we got off to a bit of a slow start.

Q. You also hit so many shots that looked like winners that came back.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think we were using our angles that well. Normally there's a net person to attack, and we were at the baseline. I think they kept bringing them back. I think we got a little excited and took our eye off the ball. I think we settled each other down pretty good.

Q. Have you discussed the Federation Cup with Billie Jean King?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't had time to. I have been over here for over a month now. I do plan on playing. I'll try to e-mail her or try to get in contact with her. But, yeah, I planned on it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's in Boston, right?

Q. Yes. Are you planning to play, too, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really would like to. If everything goes well, healthy, happy, I want to be there.

Q. Serena, at 1-3 in the last set, you suddenly picked it up again like you did yesterday. What went through your mind?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I don't know. I just said, "Come on, Venus, let's just fight here." I remember specifically hitting an overhead.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We had a strong hold. Once you go from 1-3 to 2-3, it looks a lot better, not only to yourself but also to the opponents because they don't have that huge gap. 1-3 looks really big. When it gets closer, it starts to make them think, "We have to hold."

Q. You had a nice line to your mother in the presentation. Is she holding up okay? Is she finding the last week a bit stressful?

VENUS WILLIAMS: With the tennis?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's just fine.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's always stressful, though. I mean, to be out here yesterday, she watched Venus play, then just stayed. I had to play a two-hour match, then another doubles match. Every day one of us is playing singles for two weeks.

Q. Does she love tennis?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd have to ask her how she likes tennis. That's interesting.

Q. A lot of people were affected by the Roddick-El Aynaoui match on TV. Were you affected in any way staying up and watching it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I went to sleep at 4-5, thinking it was over.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I made sure I didn't watch it because I knew I had a match the next day. I didn't want to see any mistakes the next person was making in case it transferred over to my game. I think early in the fifth, I just turned it off to make sure I'd go to sleep. I had no idea it went that far.

Q. What are your plans to play possibly more doubles together this year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we're just ...

VENUS WILLIAMS: We want to. Honestly, the singles is so demanding, we just get so tired both physically and mentally - mostly mentally - that the doubles just adds a lot to it. That's why we concentrate on the Grand Slams, try to rack those up.

Q. Obviously you've proved you deserved your seeding. Would it have mattered one way or the other whether you were seeded or not?

SERENA WILLIAMS: For me it doesn't. I just think -- I didn't even know we were going to be seeded, first of all.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I looked at the draw. I said, "Now, there's Williams-Williams at the top." I thought somebody pulled up and they put us in as the next seed. I kept looking at it. I couldn't make it out.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Couldn't quite make it out.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Finally I accepted it.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think seeded or not, we're just going to fight. It doesn't really matter whether we're seeded 1 or 2 or wildcard.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We just want the wildcard.

SERENA WILLIAMS: We just want the wildcard just to have the chance to fight.

Q. You used to enjoy playing mixed doubles. You played with Luis Lobo, beaten in the final by Venus.


Q. You are not planning to play mixed doubles?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm too old (laughter).

Q. They've been doing blood testing at the tournament. Have either of you been blood tested?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know what they're doing. I know that's going to be in addition. From what I understand, the WTA Tour, maybe the ITF, has that as an addition. For us, it doesn't really matter.

Q. It hasn't happened to either of you?


Q. You don't play doubles much, but when you do you seem to tick off Grand Slam tournaments. Does it ever feel like it comes too easy for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We work hard out there, we really do, fight through it. It just seems -- sometimes I just pick all the wrong times to cross. I'll see the ball, the girl will have a low volley, I will get a high ball, "I'm going to cross," but the ball goes all the way in the alley and I can't get it. For me the doubles is more difficult than the singles.

Q. Doesn't surprise you you don't practice, you go out and can win Grand Slam titles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We just use our serves and our returns.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Our volleys (laughter).

VENUS WILLIAMS: Competitive spirit.

Q. You said you were a fighter. Do you have the same urge when you play each other in the Grand Slam final?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course. It's for the final of a Grand Slam. You never know if you're going to make it that far again. Of course, you're always going to be fighting.

Q. Can you tell us in your own words why you prefer not to talk about the singles?

MODERATOR: It's not necessarily them. It's just that this is a doubles press conference, regarding their doubles match. Sorry about that.

Q. Are you going to practice on doubles strategy now, looking at how close this match was?


VENUS WILLIAMS: We want to. It just turned out there wasn't a lot of time this week. But for sure we will, especially at events like Federation Cup. It's really important that we do because it's very important matches.

End of FastScripts….

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