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March 22, 2007

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you feel you played today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It was definitely a really interesting day on the court. Started out with a few errors. It was really windy conditions, and she's definitely a particularly difficult player to play against in the wind because she doesn't put a lot of pace on the ball so the ball is constantly moving.
So it was definitely challenging. Even though I got down, I didn't feel like I was going to lose the match at all, I just felt like I just needed to find my timing.

Q. Even at 4-Love you were still feeling like you'd still be able to find it and come back?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. At 4-Love I was thinking hold, break, hold, it's even.

Q. That easy, huh?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I felt really confident. (Laughing) I just did. I didn't feel like it was a set for me to lose. It was definitely a set I could win, just keep some balls in. I felt like I just needed to keep swinging and playing aggressively because that's my game.
The last thing I would want to do would be to start playing her game, which is not effective.

Q. Was rustiness an issue early?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably a little bit, but it was windy out there, and it's probably easier to play someone who hits through the ball and gives you some pace so that way the wind is not blowing it.

Q. How do you feel overall coming off Memphis, your first tournament back? You won.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was playing really great in Memphis, to be honest. I wasn't exactly at that level today, but I think I was doing a lot of good things I was doing in Memphis, like moving forward, when I didn't move forward, have some spin on it to keep it in.
At the net, and my volleys are very good right now. So definitely I'll take my inspiration from Memphis to this tournament.

Q. How is your wrist?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm doing good, definitely.

Q. I know you guys don't like to look at the draw, but you have a particularly difficult one. Is this maybe the toughest draw you've ever faced?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I mean, for me it's just a blessing to be playing and to be on tour. There's not much more I could ask than that. At the end of the day, it's a match.
I feel like I'm a very good player. I've played huge matches before, so for me it's one match at a time. I'm not intimidated at all.

Q. You've done pretty well here.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've had some great results here. It's exciting.

Q. Would you rather have Serena further away in the draw than where she is?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think that we hopefully will end up playing each other, and it'll probably be a really good match because she's actually playing very well in practice.

Q. Can you talk about your thinking behind wanting to play Fed Cup this time around?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I want to play -- I usually play Fed because I love Zina and I play for Zina. Definitely I like playing for the U.S., and I really love Billy Jean, and I'd play for her, too.
Those are two women that I definitely play for. That's why I play.

Q. Do you have your eye on the Olympics, as well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Most certainly. It's an opportunity. It's a privilege to play. I'm alive, well, tour (laughing), and halfway healthy. I'll be at the Olympics.

Q. Were you at all inspired by Serena's performance in Australia? You were both kind of coming back at the same time. Did that kind of give you a boost, also?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, most certainly. It was so exciting. I just wanted to work harder, of course, when I saw her. I lived and died with every match, every point, and set my alarm clock (laughing) so I could get up at 3:00 to see the match and record it for her and all those kind of things.
I'm definitely her biggest fan. I'm her stalker fan (laughing).

Q. You haven't played the same tournament in a long time. What is it like to be together again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's exciting. We made plans to practice tomorrow. I guess hopefully that won't give her the edge (laughing).
It's exciting because it's really fantastic, too, to be able to play against the best player in the world. I don't think any other girls get to have that experience.

Q. How about Kirilenko, thoughts on that match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've seen her play quite a few times. Obviously she's a very good player. I don't know what she's ranked, but it's somewhere above me.
I'll definitely be looking forward to matching her step for step and obviously exceeding her level of play in the next game. I feel like I have the experience to do that.

Q. When you and Serena are at a tournament together like this, do you stay together, stay in the same hotel and hang around together, or do you have separate schedules?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We hang out sometimes. It just depends. Yeah, it's not planned. I mean, we live a life and existence together, so we're not worried that we won't see each other the next day. We play it by ear.

Q. Do you go home at all during this tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's too far.

Q. Too much traffic?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's 90 minutes. It's hard to get through anywhere now it's so trafifcky.

Q. Obviously you went through this before the Australian Open, a lot of people were saying Serena was out of shape. Through the tournament they said she was out of shape. There are still people now who are saying she's out of shape. What would you say to those people?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say if you want to jump on that bandwagon it's a losing one. She's definitely a world champ. She's the Australian Open champ. She's No. 1 on the race to the championships.
If that's the wagon anyone wants to ride, they'll definitely be on the losing team.

Q. Does it still get to her after all this time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The way we were raised, we were definitely raised to know that there would be odds and that we were going to get past them. If it does get to her she hasn't told me that, but she's just fine. She's a sexy girl.

Q. How was the party last night? We weren't allowed in but we heard it was pretty good, that you did a good job of hosting.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I tried (laughing). I couldn't obviously stay long because I had to play today. I was anticipating playing in the afternoon. It would be nice if they would throw an after-tournament party, too (laughter). I'd really do a great job at hosting.

Q. So you had to just kind of come in and go out?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I didn't get a seating (laughing).
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

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