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July 1, 2002

Venus Williams

Wimbledon, England

Q. You looked like you were moving a lot better today than Saturday. Could you talk about that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just trying to improve as the tournament goes on. I saw that I was moving not as fast as I could on Saturday, so just trying to get my feet moving.

Q. In the second set when you were about to go down and caught yourself with your hands, you still got up and got to the ball, can you talk about how you managed to do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just fighting for the point, that's all. Just competing.

Q. Were you pleased with your game today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm just feeling better about keeping my unforced errors down. Just trying to play some controlled tennis, get a nice result, get into the quarterfinals.

Q. How confident are you in your game right now, and what factor is your previous success here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's definitely nice knowing that I've won the tournament before, have the experience. I know what it takes to win here. That's nice. So I think I have a lot going for me with that. I am the only player in the draw who has won here maybe.

Q. As you play players who have never beaten you, is there any danger of overconfidence or looking ahead to the matches against the ones who have even a small chance, in your mind, of testing you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all, never a danger of overconfidence. I feel that going into a Grand Slam, anyone can have a great day, anyone can come out loose, feeling great, give me a lot of trouble. So today it was nice that I played well.

Q. It looked like you stepped up the speed on both your first and second serves today, yet no double-faults. Do you feel like match by match you're building something here with your serve that could be very important during the last three matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely want to. I've served well already. I don't want to be thrown off. Definitely in the doubles, too, working on my serve. And actually doubles has helped my volleys a lot. That's one of the reasons why I came in so much today because I feel confident on my volleys.

Q. Would you compare the rhythm that you're feeling with your serve now with what you had at the French Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The French Open, I was hoping for the best, and the best never came (laughter).

Q. If doubles helps you with your volleys, why not just play doubles at all the Grand Slams?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It hasn't been easy, especially with all the wrist problems I've had. It's too much vibration, too much tension on my wrist. But now that I've gotten better -- especially with the little injury I had in Rome, too, I couldn't play doubles in the French Open. So if I can just recover with my wrist, then play more doubles.

Q. So now obviously your wrist is feeling good enough that you can play both, which is going to make you feel pretty good?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love the doubles. Serena and I, we love the doubles competition. I guess you can see how much fun we have out there.

Q. What did you think of Lisa's effort, level today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely high effort. That's one thing you can admire about Lisa. You could see that in the second set she kept searching for a way to get into the match, try some serve and volleys, try some more approach shots, play the backhand more, try something different. And that's one thing I respected about her. She was always trying a different avenue to get into the match.

Q. You mentioned you might be the only one in the draw who has won here before. What is the difference in knowledge level between having won and not won, even at a Grand Slam level, before you won your first Grand Slam, then being a Grand Slam winner?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What's the difference between -- the knowledge level?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just maybe confidence a little higher. Knowing that you've been there, players in the draw who have never won a Grand Slam before, so they're striving their best to make it happen here for the first time; whereas I have the experience to have done it before.

Q. Is there any one particular thing that you sort of feel like you know better now than before you were winning them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think, more than anything, I just am always able to step up and play my best tennis when it counts a lot better than what I was a few years ago.

Q. Raymond may be, off of her results, the best doubles players on the women's tour. We didn't see her at the net very often today. Did that surprise you, as well?


Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because I think that she realized that I have some great passing shots. Off of her serve, also, I can get a good hit on it. Force her to hit a low volley or even pass her a few times. I did expect her to play from the baseline. I only played her once before and she played mostly from the baseline.

Q. She wound up on one serve and volley point where you were also chipping and charging, volleying her volley. Did you catch her by surprise, do you think?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just trying to take the ball early. If she's going to slice, maybe I'll take it out of the air and beat her to it.

Q. Did you need a match like this today, after having a bit of a tough time in your last match, people thought you may have been slow, hurting, what have you. Did you have a long off day? Did you need to come out and have a statement match like this, so to speak?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's important for me to play well and for me to feel like when I walk off the court that I've played well, more than anything. Definitely the last match I would have liked to have played better. But today was very solid. Going into the quarterfinals, is good.

Q. You weren't at all maybe overeager to kind of get back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Yesterday was a long day, though. Today, I was glad it came.

Q. Is it realistic for you, hitting as hard and deep as you are, that anyone could volley consistently against you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, I think so. Lisa's definitely a great volleyer. The best part is that she can rely on her volley game and her groundstroke game either way. But I think the best way to play on the grass is to come forward and to play aggressive.

Q. Jennifer Capriati has been quoted recently saying things like you and Serena wouldn't have taken the 1 and 2 ranking if Lindsay and Martina were still around. Do you take some of her statements as a lack of respect or ill will toward you and Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all.

Q. How would you characterize your thoughts on her as a player and a person?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's definitely a great person. When you look at her, she's just a great athlete more than anything. She can hit great shots from any position. That's one thing that I think has made her so good. You know, she's a much better athlete than a lot of the players out there.

Q. As a person?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know as a person. Seems like a funny person.

Q. Can you talk about your next opponent? You've beaten her in all seven previous matches.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Who am I playing?

Q. Elena.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Likhovtseva?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, okay. Well, I did play her here last year, like the third round maybe. She plays a nice game; deep and somewhat flat. So every ball that I get, I'm just going to get on top of it.

Q. The last two summers from Wimbledon through The Open, you just kind of dominated pretty much. You swept through the fields. How probable is that for you this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I always enjoy the hard court season because it's nice to get back on the hard courts. I always love going back to California. So maybe that's why I play well. I don't know.

Q. I mean, from this tournament through The Open, for almost the eight weeks, you pretty much have dominated. Do you feel like you're capable of doing that again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I would like to. I've had two great years, and I couldn't ask for more. But I will (laughter).

Q. Can you tell us about the knee bandage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'll definitely wear it again in doubles. But right now I feel good.

Q. Is it for prevention, pressure or did you scratch your knee?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't scratch it. Just a little sore, that's all. Just for prevention.

Q. You said before something about what it takes to get all the way through. What does it take for you to get all the way through?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just a lot of focus. I'm just trying to remember where I was at last year and the year before mentally. That's what I try to focus in on, try to be the same person that I was those past two years.

Q. When you weigh your options about playing Fed Cup, what usually has to play into it for you to play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just -- I think if I'll be tired or not - mentally mostly - and if I'll be able to be there that whole week basically. I like playing Fed Cup always, but I always try to think about when it comes around to that week, will I want to be there.

Q. Serena said a few months ago she really would prefer to play Fed Cup when her ranking was enough to be able to play singles. Now that her ranking is enough to play singles, is it something you can see both of you playing together?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh. We've always had a great experience. Especially when we played the first year, won the whole thing, that was real nice. Also the fact that we never played on a team environment, that was nice also because, sure, we played in doubles, but it was still Serena and I. It was nice to be with other players.

Q. Do you feel your presence getting bigger in the second week of the tournament? There's, again, that intimidation factor. The more the second week goes on, do you feel like your presence in the draw gets bigger maybe to the opponents you face?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe. I don't know. I hope.

Q. Do you think it's your presence or your strokes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It could be everything. I mean, I am quite tall. Sometimes I wonder how I look to my opponent on the other side of the net (laughter). I probably look like I can just reach out and cover anything maybe.

Q. How much better are you now than you were when you lost to Graf here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was so disappointing. I just didn't want to win.

Q. Is she the best player you ever played on grass?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't say that, no.

Q. Who would be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I haven't really actually played a grass court player. I think Serena played Els Callens the other day. I think she was a good grass court player. Maybe Nathalie Tauziat.

Q. Do you put those two in the same category at Steffi?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not the same category. But I didn't consider Steffi a grass court player. I considered her a champion, sure. She never really came in, never served and volleyed. I don't think that was exactly grass court tennis.

Q. You said you were so sad, you didn't want to win that day.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not that I want -- I didn't do what it took to win.

Q. In what way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just missing, just not stepping up. But that was years ago. I'm a different person. I don't even know who that was anymore.

Q. Who is the best grass court player, woman, you've ever seen, films, TV, or anything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. My memory goes back to like about '89. I remember a few matches from then. But most players from when I remember have been mostly baseliners.

Q. Did you watch Martina play much at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh. I never played her, though.

Q. You watched her game?


Q. What would you like to become as a grass court player? How would you be the best grass court player you can be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd like to serve and volley more, I suppose, on the grass or on the hard, come in more. But I think my game is at the baseline. That's where I was taught.

End of FastScripts….

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