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March 24, 2007

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: I guess we'll get started.

Q. Hard to start and stop, start and stop? I guess you're used to that, huh?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, in this day and age I better be professional and ready to do whatever. For me it's better to finish today than to have to go through more changes tomorrow, so I was ready.

Q. How do you do that? Be able to pick back up after a four-hour delay? Just get back into it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: By any means necessary.

Q. The words of Malcom X?

Q. Now, you said something about a really interesting match for a fan between you and Maria. Can you just talk about that a little bit.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that it's, you know, a great match-up for playing pretty well. Especially with the conditions being so windy. It's easy to get off your game. I feel comfortable.
I've had a ton of matches already, it seems. So I feel great.

Q. She said she wanted to forget the last time you played.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, is that so?

Q. Do you remember when that was?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I do remember, yes.

Q. Is that something you just throw that out, or is that something you can sort of tap into? It was a couple years ago, so...
VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't forgotten. It's a couple of years ago, really. Right now I feel like my second serve is at the top of the top, and my first serve is pretty frightening. I'm playing really well, so for me, it's just really going to be just as always.
It's going to be about me keeping my errors down. And I feel like as long as that ball's going in, and my errors are down, it's going to be a good day for me.

Q. When you haven't played an opponent that long, how quickly do you get back into feeling how long they struck the ball and what their strengths and weaknesses are?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Unless the person's game is really particular, if I'm playing Emilie Loit maybe, that's a big difference. But Maria's a big hitter. She's not going to pull out any huge surprises against me. You know, it's definitely going to be about whether or not she can play better than me, and whether or not I'm going to play better than her. That's what it's really about.

Q. Did you watch any of that match? Or watch that match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I saw a little, but not too much.

Q. What about your sister's match? You said you saw that. How much of it did you get to see?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she played a tough little player, actually. The girl was going for broke. Hitting it flat and hard. That's hard, because you're playing a different speed, and the ball's low and hard.
So it's really good to come do that. She hasn't played in a minute, so it's hard to find a rhythm. My first match was like a little bit of weirdness, but I'm okay now.

Q. You watched Serena here. You didn't watch her live in Australia. We were all a little bit surprised at how she did. I'm just wondering what your thought process was, you know, back here, watching her move through the draw? What was going through your mind?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was very excited, and I watched every match that came on TV. Except one day I didn't, and I was glad to know. It was just so hard. I was nervous.
But other than that, it's exciting. And we have also the support hotline, the sisters who aren't there. So when things aren't going, you know, we call each other and we console each other. We help each other get through it.
So when she wasn't -- things were close, I was on the hotline.

Q. Were you surprised at how she did? She hadn't won in two years.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, she's a champion. She's a champion; you can't count her out. If you do count her out it would be really a losing bet.

Q. If you weren't surprised at how's she fought through some really close matches, were you surprised at how she blew away Maria in the final?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She played great. She really did. And the worst part, or the best part I guess, is that she feels that she can play better. So that's a got to be scary for everyone else out there, including me.

Q. You've been practicing with her coming into the tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: A little bit, not a lot.

Q. You looked at the bracket, and there is a chance you guys could be facing each other in the following round.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Right, well we want the best possible result for each other. So if that's both of us make it to the fourth round, then that's the best we can do. It's awesome.
I'm on the up and up. I don't waste any time. I get back on tour, I started winning right away, that's my style. So we'll do fine. We'll be back up here.

Q. When you see a draw like this, is that motivation for getting the ranking up a little bit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: There's no quality points anymore, so I don't get the quality points. But for me, I'm happy to be healthy and on tour. I have no fear of any player. There's no need for all that.
So I'm ready to play. So if I see the draw and it's -- I feel like I can get through it.

Q. Right. But nicer to play players of Maria and your sister's caliber a little bit later, no?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm a dangerous floater. So I think that people hope that I'll be somewhere else, and that's the way it is right now.

Q. No matter who you play, it seems as if you are the crowd favorite. There is no question that people get behind you. More than just about anybody. Why do you think that is? What is the connection you have with everybody no matter where you go?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, you know what, I think that I'm not sure exactly why. People are very nice and sweet.

Q. Do you feel it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I felt it some today, but I was so caught up in the moment, like the focusing, I don't always notice it. And when the match is over you're off in a minute, so it's gone.
So people are nice and sweet, I think. People also realize that of course I try my best and I'm not a bad sport. I'm always a good one.

Q. How is the wrist?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm doing good. Yeah.

Q. 100%? 90%? Where is it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, every day is different, but I'm definitely feeling up to the level where I can play matches and be on tour. So if that would ever change, then I'd be in that place where you're not on tour, that place which has no name.

Q. What is the actual diagnosis? What is it?

Q. A sprain?

Q. Bad sprain?

Q. Another question on stats. You know how people keep stats on forehand errors, backhand errors. How much stock do you put into that, in the people that are doing some of those stats are like volunteers?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Stats on my matches and whatever?

Q. Yeah. Well some of the stats being done by the umpire, but others are unforced errors and things like that. Do you get a stats page and look at it and go, Someone was not watching my match, because I couldn't have hit that many errors, or I couldn't have hit that many winners. How much stock do you put into those numbers?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think they're pretty accurate. I think they're definitely very accurate. For me those stats are important if I can get them, because I look at my first serve percentage mostly, and my unforced errors.

Q. But that's objective. The chair umpire is putting in first serve, second serve. The subjective stats are what's an error, what's a winner, and that's a lot grayer, you know?
VENUS WILLIAMS: True that. But in general, I think when you look at the stats you can tell I felt that -- if it was a forced error, like today I forced a lot of errors, so her error count was lower. But I never thought about it that much, really. When the stats look good, I feel good.
THE MODERATOR: Thank thanks.

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