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April 22, 2007

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you know even as early as last night it was going to be difficult for Serena to play today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I actually wasn't in the loop, and I didn't really know till I came here to warm up. Zina is like, Well, Little V is going to be playing.
I don't know what transpired between the finish of dinner and when I got here because I didn't see her until today.

Q. Who nicknamed her Little V?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think it was a nickname. Zina just said, Little V is going to play. She just said it that way.

Q. What did you think of Vania's performance?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It was really gutsy. It was fantastic. It's tough to get in there at the last minute. It's tough in the wind. It's tough when you're not just representing yourself, but you're representing a team and your country. So with all those factors, I think she did fantastic.

Q. Did you get any indication at all that Serena was hurt last night?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't know. I didn't know at all. It was tough for her yesterday out there. I didn't realize how tough it was for her. But we were talking about it a little bit during Vania's match. All her hope went into Vania.

Q. Are you beginning to think about your place in U.S. history? You have another two wins today. I think they said you're tied with Mary Joe Fernandez now. Is that something special to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's exciting. I think Navratilova, she never had a loss. I don't have a chance for that. But I can try to vie for the most wins. I'm moving up on the scale.

Q. And your commitment going forward to the team? Strong?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm definitely going to play the tie in July, unless for some reason I just can't play and I'm hurt and injured, in exile. That's the only way I won't be there.

Q. Does your mentality change going into the match when it's already been clinched or did it matter to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You have to be careful because I think today, like she came out there, felt like she had nothing to lose. The U.S. already had it. Plus she's not theoretically supposed to beat me. So she did come out swinging, hitting hard, going for the lines. But I felt like I could definitely temper that or get through it because I have more experience and because I've been through that before.
So I don't go out there tight or relaxed. I just go out there focused.

Q. People have had about five hours of tennis today. Out there on court is the No. 1 doubles player in the world. I expect the crowd is diminishing rapidly. Is there something wrong with the way this thing is organized that doubles has to be last?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think if singles players are your strongest players, you probably want that first. With women in doubles, it can be pretty even. And I think if it was 2-All, I think it would be a different story.
But I think last time Serena and I, we played the fifth, and the crowd was diminishing also. Or did I play with Corina? I don't know who I played with, but I was in the doubles. If the score was close, 2-All, I think there would be a difference.
It is a lot of tennis, and the first match went really long, too.

Q. Do you know if Serena is committed to the July tie, as well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I know? I can't speak for her. I refuse to speak for her (laughter). I can just speak for me.

Q. Is there a team celebration planned for tonight, maybe back at your place in Palm Beach Gardens?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess that should have been the plan. I didn't think about it. I should have arranged a dj, all kinds of stuff. Our pool, actually we just got it refilled so hopefully it's full.
No, I know we have a meeting. Hopefully there will be a celebration. We were just focused on winning, not what was going to happen after.

Q. It's going to be impromptu?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is. Right, Rita? She's planned everything this week.

Q. How much preparation do you feel you need to really feel grooved, extremely competitive on clay after the hard court season?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think on clay, a lot of it is definitely the mentality to be ready to hit a lot of shots. I think for a player like me, be ready to hit a little more spin on the ball so that way you can just back your opponents up and they aren't blocking it back.
It's definitely important to be fit because if you go in injured and you haven't been on the court, you haven't been doing your fitness, you're going to get tired, and that's never any fun. So for sure it's important to be healthy.

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