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July 4, 2002

Venus Williams

Wimbledon, England

Q. Your sister is winning seems to be fairly easily right now. What would it take for the two of you to bring out the best in each other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I've been posed this question so many times, I just don't know.

Q. What was the best match you think you've had against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. What does the 4th of July mean to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't really celebrate any holidays. I don't know. Oh, gosh (laughter).

Q. You had a pretty good American contingent decked out in stars and stripes cheering you on. Were you aware of that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I heard them from behind, but I didn't actually see them. I heard them a couple of times. That was nice. It's not too often that I have a stand cheering for USA. Always quite a few countries out there that support their players, but not always USA, so that was nice.

Q. The difference with last year's final, were you better or was she weaker? What was the difference?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know (laughter). I guess I don't know too much today. I just think that I was just maybe more solid than what she was. She played very well. Actually, once I got to 4-Love, I felt I had to push even more because she was playing consistently, returning my serves better, running a lot of my approach shots down that I was hitting for winners earlier. So I just think that I was able to play the more important points better, those breakpoints and things like that.

Q. Did she just get going a little quicker than you did? It was 2-Love, then you won eight in a row.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, not really, because I think that the first two games, it took like 15 minutes. By then I was nice and warmed up. But I think that I was returning serves much better. She hardly got any free points off her serve, which usually she gets a lot more. A lot of pressure when the ball keeps coming back.

Q. How would you describe what the matches have been like with Serena? What are the common dominators? What makes it so difficult to play at your best level for each of you, do you think?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just a lot of unforced errors basically.

Q. Are you looking forward to the final on Saturday or your doubles match later today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, been on the doubles schedule four days now without playing. Looks like we'll play today.

Q. Is it good for tennis that you guys are at this level where you're often going to meet in Grand Slam finals?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's good for tennis. I think it's good for Serena and I more than anything.

Q. What makes it good? What do you think the appeal is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that it's just something that's been unprecedented, never seen before. We make the headlines and the cover stories, all the news, because it's Serena and I, it's something that's never happened. See if she does get the final, I'm going to try to get out there as soon as I can, it's going to be big news again. That's how tennis gets in the news, when there's amazing things happening.

Q. A lot of people look at the No. 2 player in the world and say that Serena has a tough forehand, great serve, particularly the second, good movement. What would your scouting report be of Serena and what makes her so tough to play on court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's a great competitor, big serve, lots of power, great forehand, lots of movement (smiling).

Q. What strokes gives you the most problem?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, just has an all-around game. She can do anything. A game pretty much similar to mine, so I respect that, and I know where she's coming from.

Q. Are you afraid your baby sister is going to take your crown and No. 1 slot?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I suppose I didn't win the French Open, but I'm going to do my best here at Wimbledon. That's all I can do.

Q. In most families that are fortunate enough to have more than one child make it to the pros, still there's usually a case of one sibling becoming dominant over the other. What makes you two too stubborn for one to surrender to the other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We both love to win. I'm not used to losing. It doesn't happen that often. It's quite the same with her. You know, when I go home, I've managed to lose, I can't believe it. So I just don't get there that often. I think that's what makes it the same for both of us.

Q. Is it something when you were five, six years old, or did it have to be instilled in you by your dad and mom as you played?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What? Instilled what?

Q. In other words, did you want to win when you picked up a racquet when you were six years old, or did they say, "You have to win"? You just had fun and you had to learn to win?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think for sure when I got on the professional tour, I did have to learn to win. I did win most of the times, but the more important matches, you have to learn to win those, sure. But I think we just had a lot of positive reinforcement, is the main thing. I think that's why we both have been able to be so successful because there's a lot of tennis players, and they're self-motivated, they started themselves. I think what happened is that my parents started us, and they both believed in us. So that's really been the main thing, why we've done so well.

Q. Is it getting any easier to play Serena, the more you play her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really, because she keeps getting better.

Q. What about emotionally?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's all the same. When I walk out there, I realize I'm playing the No. 2 player, a real powerhouse, I've got to be on my toes.

Q. You were talking after the French Open that the way you guys hit your strokes is part of what contributes to the matches maybe not being as high a level of tennis as your matches against some other people. Do you think that's going to change at all or because of the way you play, that will always be the case?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, just unforced errors double maybe than if I was playing someone like Henin who maybe doesn't make as many errors.

Q. Reportedly there's a guy who is stalking your sister. If your dad got a hold of that guy, what do you think he'd do to him?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably take him to lunch.

Q. He was in court this morning at Wimbledon magistrate and actually released. Does that worry you that he is still free? Will it affect your game at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I don't think I could really comment on it.

Q. You've described how tough it is to play your sister from the pure tennis standpoint. What is the mental side of it, seeing your sister on the other side of the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the only difference between playing my sister and playing someone else is that I want to win, but I want her to win also basically, because I want the best for her - but yet I am still going out there strong.

Q. Does that affect play, do you think?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all.

Q. What are you having for your power breakfast on Saturday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't really eat breakfast.

Q. Nothing before you go on the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I kind of wait till lunch.

Q. Serena was talking about how you guys practice, she thinks you're elevating each other's games because you're practicing against each other every day. Have there been some practice sessions where afterwards you guys have just said, "Boy, I wish we could do this in a final," because they've been so intense?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that a lot of the times I'll see her doing well, be, "Oh, I've got to pick up a few of those things she's doing." At times I'll be doing something, she said, "Venus, you really push me to do better." I suppose that's real nice.

Q. Do you think your friendship with Serena will survive if you keep doing the finals?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure.

Q. Are you afraid that the media, everybody tries to make a rivalry between you two to make things more interesting?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I mean, there's always so many issues that people try to put in your head. But I don't have any issues (laughter).

Q. With Jennifer and now Justine losing, do you think you and Serena are the most improved players on the women's tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. But I think that right now we're playing the best tennis in the past few weeks, which is quite important since this is the high point of the Grand Slam season. So it's nice to play great tennis at this time of the year.

Q. If you had to ask a question to Serena, what would you ask? If she had to ask you a question, would you like -- what would you like her to ask you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. That's my favorite word today. I ask her all kinds of questions.

Q. Just ask her a question, what would you like to know from her that you don't know?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I know most things.

Q. What particularly pleased you about your match today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that this was the best match that I've played the whole tournament, and the fact that I did play a very good player, someone who knows how to play on grass. The intensity level was very high. And I think that I rose my game to the occasion, especially on the groundstrokes, because I have not been hitting my groundstrokes well. I think my serve went down today, but as far as going into the final, I think my serve and my groundstrokes are both going to have to be there.

Q. You told us you don't celebrate holidays, you don't eat breakfast. What else don't you do that's of interest or of importance?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't drink milk. I like jello, cranberries. I have a sticker collection.

Q. When you said you didn't celebrate holidays, did you ever go to a fireworks demonstration at all on the 4th, either in California or Florida?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe when I was younger. We love fireworks. That's the highlight of your life, fireworks, when you're young.

End of FastScripts….

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