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July 2, 2002

Venus Williams

Wimbledon, England

Q. Watching you, it seems like you're a machine. I mean that respectfully. How badly are you going to beat the next person. How do you feel as you go through your matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm just trying to keep my unforced error count down, and just trying to play more solid every round, garner each point for myself. When it happens like it did today, it's very, very nice, I think. I don't think she gave me a lot of errors actually. I think I had to produce most of the shots and put a lot of pressure on her. So she felt like she had to go for more.

Q. You don't seem to really get too high after victories like today. After the tournament, at any point, do you ever step back and reflect on what you do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I was younger, I used to always do a lot of fist pumps and things like that. It's not that it's still not as exciting now, it's now I expect for myself to be almost perfect, whereas when I first started, I was just first doing things , first getting to the quarterfinals. It was all new. But now I expect to be there. So I think that's a huge difference.

Q. Maturity, I guess, more or less?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I've won and lost, and I think I know what it takes.

Q. Was it almost perfect today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd like to improve a lot more. I think I hit a lot of balls up the middle, and maybe my preparation was a little slow. But I'll be studying myself, I suppose.

Q. In Paris you almost lost with the serve. Here it was magnificent. What happened with the serve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was tired of just having to struggle so much on my serve. And now sometimes when I throw it up and hit it, I'm not even thinking very much, just hitting.

Q. There appeared to be a problem with your knee in the first game of the second set where you went to smash the attempted lob. You just stopped for a second. Was there a problem with that at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I almost missed that shot because I miss-timed it, so it was a lucky shot. But I got it over the net, it barely went. But it was such an easy smash, and those are the ones sometimes can get you into trouble if you miss them.

Q. When you were younger, winning here and other places, you did the fist pumps, danced a little bit, you did it more out of sheer joy. Do you think that irritated people, your opponents? Did you become aware of that at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I hope it didn't irritate anyone else, because that's not what I was out to do at all. I just think that I was very, very excited. And when I look back on those times, I laugh still. And I just hope that other people were able to kind of share those exciting times with me.

Q. Are you favoring your knee at all? Are you trying to sort of look after it? It seemed you were walking slightly gingerly today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm feeling good, very good, thank you.

Q. Is tennis as fun for you now that perfection has become the benchmark instead of just the simple joy of playing it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I realize that I might never be perfect. I think I'd have to definitely go out and practice more. But with the amount of tournaments that you play, when you get home, you do have to take some days off. So it's just getting that happy medium.

Q. The old saying in sports, It's easier to become No. 1 than stay No. 1, because everyone is challenging you, and you also feel like you have to defend your own position. Do you find that at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't feel that, strangely enough. I'm No. 1. Next week I could be No. 2. It just doesn't bother me. Not that I want to be No. 2. But I'm just here to win every match and to do the best I can. Whatever becomes of that becomes of it. I don't feel like anyone's chasing me or trying to take me down. I realize with each match I play, with each opponent, no matter what I'm ranked, my opponent is going to try to win. So it's all the same.

Q. You said you knew what it takes to win. What are those elements?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I found that with any Grand Slam, you have to play aggressively, you have to really step up and take it to your opponent. You can't just sit back and wait and hope they miss, because I tried that, and it just didn't work. I think that's the first thing. And the second thing is, when you step up, you have to make the shot.

Q. You played a lot of volleys today. Was it because you were better than your opponent or because you like to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's because of the doubles, it really is . Because now I have a lot of confidence in my volleys, whereas before my volleys were really off. So even if I did come in, I was missing shots. So now I'm coming in, I know I can volley (laughter).

Q. Yesterday the tour said they might start out-of-competition drug testing next year. Would you be in favor of that? Have you ever thought it was an issue?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never thought it was or is. But I realize in other sports, they do lots of testing. I wouldn't be against it, I suppose.

Q. Do you have any problem with them testing outside of competition, just showing up randomly at your door?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think that's a good idea. I think there has to at least be a notice normally. I wouldn't let anyone in my house if I'm not expecting them. Showing up at the door, you kidding (laughter)?

Q. The ATP does it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, that happened to me once. Someone tried to get in the development, doing a drug test. If I wasn't tested in the next two hours, I wouldn't be playing on tour. You know, there's always someone at the gates trying to get in.

Q. When was this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This was right before Wimbledon, from the USADA.

Q. An Olympic thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it was just someone trying to get in.

Q. Just a phoney?


Q. Did it almost work?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Normally I tell the gate, "Tell them Venus moved to Siberia some months ago."

Q. What do you think of the suspicion that seems to be encompassing all of sports where, no matter what people are doing, people are suggesting doping or steroids or whatever?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really can't answer for other sports. But I think in tennis, it's unprecedented. I don't think it's a factor at all.

Q. Was this hoax in London just before the Wimbledon tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. Always something.

Q. Don't you worry if there's no testing out of competition that players who are clean are going to get taken advantage of by players who do use drugs and then a week or two before the tournament just sort of stop and clean their system?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm not afraid of that.

Q. The dressing on your knee, is that for support, for the tendonitis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. Mainly because if for some reason I did go out there on the court and I did injure it further - it became sore or something happened - it's hard to tape within three minutes, a tape job.

Q. It's preventive rather than treatment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. So in the case that something does happen, I'm already taped. And hopefully I won't have to retape.

Q. And it feels good, apart from that?


Q. You're not feeling it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm feeling good.

Q. You talked before about your pursuit of a perfect game. What is your idea of a perfect game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, when I suppose all the balls that you hit go where you want them to go and they all fall in. I don't think it's going to happen too often.

Q. Which between the men do you like the most?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Between the men? I like Pete's serve a lot, and Ivanisevic and Krajicek.

Q. Your last two matches, performance in the last two matches, was that a direct result of the first set that you referred to as a wake-up call?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was a little disappointing to lose that set, for sure. But more than anything, I've just been trying to play within myself because this tournament has been, to me, for me, real easy, it seems, just to hit the ball out. So I have to kind of pull myself in to keep the balls in.

Q. You said when you walk off court, you want to feel like you did a good job. How do you reward yourself when you feel you've done a good job?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Good question. I should find a way (smiling).

Q. Are you finding time to enjoy yourself in London? Have you done any things?


Q. Not really?


Q. No time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Die like the markets, but it's hard to sneak away from here.

Q. Or to Siberia?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Siberian cruise (laughter).

End of FastScripts….

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