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June 26, 2007

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus Williams.

Q. Will you agree that match was very tight and very close?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was definitely a well-competed match. I think the fans enjoy that. It was nice because I could definitely feel that they were enjoying when I was playing well and coming back.

Q. Did you enjoy it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I enjoyed the part when I was winning (smiling).

Q. On the final changeover when you were getting ready to serve for the match, pounded your knees with your fists. What were you saying?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was excited to finally get the break because the ball was clearly in at the 40-15 game. I mean, that ball was just in. I felt in my heart that it was. Players have been wrong.
But anyway I knew I had a chance, I was going to serve it out, and I wasn't going to let that go.

Q. What was going through your mind after that first set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, the first set went so fast and my balls were just flying out and I didn't have any answers. That really bothered me because when things are going wrong, I can figure it out and change my game or adjust.
But that first set, I was like, Okay, what am I doing wrong? 'Cause there has to be something if it's not going in.

Q. Could you talk about the support that you got from your family, particularly Serena, throughout, what that did for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it's so important to have that support because I wanted definitely to play better and I was disappointed that I wasn't playing well. The fact that I can play well, the fact that I've been practicing well, and suddenly the match comes and it wasn't going right. So it definitely can be disappointing.
The fact that Serena was there, my mom was there, too, they were like, you can do it. Just to hang in there and not focus on what went wrong. Just focus on the future. So it was definitely key today I think for my win.

Q. Is it useful to have a tough workout like this at this stage of the competition?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I haven't played a match in a few weeks, so I think that could be a factor. I think I've made my mistakes in the first round, and I think that it helps definitely to helps definitely to work out some of those cobwebs.
I think being able to hit a lot of balls in some pressure situations will definitely help me in the coming rounds.

Q. You said you were asking yourself what you were doing wrong. What was the answer and how did you fix it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I eventually had to take something off the ball because I just couldn't seem to get it in today. So I just kind of had to add a little more spin, go for consistency. Because, you know, I like to go for the shot and I like to try to move forward.
They were just going out. So I just needed to change my game plan, like take a step back and take a couple steps forward, kind of like that.

Q. Do you think Birmingham, Eastbourne, Netherlands, is that out of the question for you before Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For me it's nice to go home. It rains so much, the courts are so different, for me it doesn't seem like an advantage. I suppose the only advantage would be match play. For me, I just rely on my experience and fight.

Q. Has this broken the famous Court 2 jinx in your mind?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't want any of that on me. Whatever court it is, I still got to play well. That's how I try to think of it.

Q. How much could you hear what Serena was saying? How much did you listen to what she was saying?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely listened. I mean, at one point I was like, The ball's flying. What am I doing? Sometimes you just need that support.
She was saying all kinds of things. You can do it. Stay down. Mix it up. Just simple things, but more than anything encouraging. Not any coaching, but just encouraging words.

Q. Did you feel she was rushing you in the first set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think maybe I was just rushing because I just wanted -- I was really eager to get the ball and play a good shot. I think I just went too fast and I needed to slow down.

Q. Late in the third set you each had at least a call or two that you weren't sure, sort of questioned. Given that, would you have preferred that you had played this match on a Hawk-Eye court? Were you thinking, Boy, now I wish I had replay?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was not thinking about that at all, no.

Q. What is your view on that in general, particularly here at Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Update. Don't be late. Why not?

Q. The next group of African American women after you, Jamea, Shenay, Alexandra, are struggling a fair amount, not getting very top-level results. Why do you think that is? Will there be another surge among African Americans?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't analyzed their game. On a day-to-day basis, I haven't thought about African American tennis in general. I think for me just staying on tour and not being injured is a huge priority.
I pray every night, stretch, rehab, try to stay healthy. Hopefully I can represent American tennis, if I'm African American or Caucasian.

Q. You guys have been here since last Thursday.

Q. Do you and Serena play sets at all during practice? If you don't, why not? Wouldn't that be a way of getting yourself ready?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. Definitely. We play sets, tiebreaks, points, all kinds of things.

Q. What are your thoughts on playing doubles here with Serena? Given her hamstring issues, are you concerned that might be a problem for her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we're so excited to get the wildcard. We have to definitely thank the All England Club because we have no ranking whatsoever for years.
But I'm excited because she's the ultimate doubles partner. I know that if I have my worst day, she can hold the team up. She feels the same way. One of us going to make it happen, or both of us at the same time.
I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully she'll be healthy, we'll both be healthy, and we can do it.

Q. To what degree are you concerned about the hamstring problem she's having?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't know. I didn't think about it. I think for sure she's going to fight and try to be in the singles, but I can't speak on her injury. It's best for her to do that.

Q. Are you surprised your success as a team here and other places, you weren't actually seeded?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because we don't care if we're seeded or not, we just want to be in the draw. Ans as long as we are in the draw, as Serena proved in the Australian Open, that's what counts. Seed, no need, doesn't matter. As long as I get a chance to be in the draw.

Q. Do you remember the last time you had an easy match at a Grand Slam?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Easy match at a Grand Slam or in a regular tournament. It's just you have to stay focused on every point against players. They come out against you, they feel they don't have anything to lose.
I recall late in the fourth set she hit a like a second serve a hundred miles an hour out wide. She feels like she doesn't have anything to lose. That's what you're up against.
I enjoy the battle. I enjoy winning matches like this. This is what I do. If you want to be successful at anything it doesn't come easy.

Q. Is it fair to say the younger ones are legitimately getting better? Doesn't matter where they're coming from, they're bigger, stronger, more athletic?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Everyone's trying to get to the next level. I could think of a few who aren't. Not to mention any names. Everyone's trying to get to the next level, and so am I.

Q. You both have great backhands. Who is going to play the ad court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I always play the ad court.

Q. Before one of you is serving, is it your style to confer with each other or let it flow?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We always confer with each other. We always support each other. If there's a net cord, then we go back. Our serves are so huge, the plan is usually to hit a huge serve, the net person will probably cover it.

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