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June 28, 2007

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Venus Williams.

Q. You campaigned for equal winnings for men and women. When you look at the amount of time spent on court for men and women, women earn almost double than men compared to per minute the time on court. Do you think that's fair?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Did you really just ask me that? I think I've been through that the past few years now and I really don't want to go through it any more. I think, especially as a woman, you should definitely see the merit in people getting paid or being treated equal as people, not on sex.

Q. What do you think need now to be more ambitious for this tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What do I need? I have a doubles match, so I will definitely of course go out and play to win. I will definitely work on my serve, my return, my volleys, moving in, obviously go for that title, too.

Q. Speaking of doubles, yesterday Serena said you basically carry her; that with your serve-and-volley game, she just has to be there basically. How would you describe what each of you do on the court and what you get from each other?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, off my serve, usually my service game goes pretty quick 'cause I usually get a huge serve in. Most of the time I don't even expect to like hit a second shot - at least when I was playing back in the day.
To be honest, like I said the other day, I feel like if I'm playing bad, am really down, I know Serena can do it, we both have that confidence in each other, we're always so positive with each other, and I never feel like I can let her down.

Q. What is the effect on your singles game when you're playing doubles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it helps tremendously. I'm so excited that we both were healthy enough to play and that we didn't doubt that we could make it through the draw in the doubles. We were at a point where we felt confident to do it.

Q. Serena said you gossip on the court. Can you describe the conversations you have when you're playing with her.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, they're very relaxed. The conversations are very relaxed. We do discuss strategy, especially on the service games. But they're very relaxed.

Q. None of us can remember you playing in shorts before. Are our memories wrong or is this a new look?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I really haven't played in shorts before. But my skirt was so big, I couldn't fit it, so I had to move to the shorts immediately.

Q. Have you gone down a size?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm always the same size. I think they just made it too big.

Q. Also you're playing with some very distinctive chunky jewelry. It doesn't seem to bother you. Big ring on your finger, pendant.
VENUS WILLIAMS: The only time I don't wear the ring, sometimes your fingers swell or get smaller, I have to take it off. But I've always been into jewels. I wear it off the court and on the court. My pendant I got, it's jade. I got it in Hong Kong like many years ago. My earrings I believe Serena are after. She is the little sister, she's the smallest out all of us, so she believes she has a right to everything, so I have to watch them closely.

Q. What are you doing now after tennis? Your sister talked to us about the work in Africa. What are you doing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm always in school. Now I'm finally going to finish this year for fashion design. I have an interior design company called V Starr Interiors. We do all kinds of things in residential design, commercial. Right now we're working on a hotel in the Turks and Caicos, which is exciting. I got to go. I also love music. I have a sister who writes. I'd love to write with her. That's my goals.
Who knows, I might do something like really normal, have a family.

Q. And the goals in this tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My goal is definitely to complete the doubles today, to definitely stay healthy, play aggressive, play my game, stay true to myself on the court. As long as I do that, relax, I definitely have a good result.

Q. Could you speak to us about your dad, what makes him special.
VENUS WILLIAMS: He's a great guy. He's friends with everyone on the circuit. He knows players I don't know. He knows the transport people. He knows the people in the lunchroom. He knows the guy working at the security. He's friends with everyone at every tournament. He's just a really outgoing guy. He just wants the best for Serena and I.
It's great. He's always extremely positive. Even when I know I've played miserable, he's so positive. That's so important as a coach, especially at this level, because I know what I'm doing. As a coach, it's important to know how to motivate your player.
He's just a great dad. He doesn't care if we play tennis or not. He just wants us to make good decisions and to be happy. I can take him anywhere.

Q. You like his advice as a coach?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I don't listen always. It doesn't work out. But it's hard, you know, to be a daughter because sometimes you want to revolt (laughter).

Q. Is playing style nurture or nature?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Whose style?

Q. Any player. Is it something that comes from inside you or something from the environment you grow up in?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely would say both, for sure.

Q. Can you expand on that a little bit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, for example, Serena and I, we have a lot of natural talent. We have physiques that lend itself to sports. Naturally, how could we not play aggressive? At the same time our dad taught us to play extremely aggressive, taught us this dynamic game. All these moves you might see that are new or dynamic, they came from him. He nurtured that, and then there was nature.

Q. Is it difficult to juggle your interests with a tennis career? Are there other players that are able to do the same?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure what the other players are doing except when they're across the net from me.
No, I enjoy my life. I have to be busy. I don't like downtime. I'm a busy-body.

Q. The all-white rule, as a fashion designer, does it make it harder to be creative?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I think it's easy to be creative. I actually like the all white. I enjoy the tradition here. Sometimes when they update, I'm not ready to update - except on equal prize money. It's a beautiful thing, I think.

Q. During the training when you play with your sister, who wins?

Q. Can you assess your form at this early stage of the tournament, how many levels you think you can go up for the bigger challenges to come?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Constantly looking to go up another level. It's so important to expect something from yourself. I think my serve is pretty dynamic right now. It's definitely winning me a lot of points. I feel like my return is really nice. I feel like I'm moving well. I'm solid. I feel like I have a good base to just keep playing aggressively on.

Q. Could you talk about your song ambitions? What are your thoughts there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I never talk about this a lot, but I just love music. I play the guitar. I don't think I'll really learn to play the piano because I travel too much. Nowadays all you have to have is a computer, and if you know a new chords, you can speed it up to what tempo you want, and you're there. So there's do-overs in your own little computer studio.
I guess I'd like to write probably pop. I really love electronica and house. My sister is really a great writer. I told her, please, I want to be just like you. Hopefully it will rub off on me.

Q. You play the Czech girl next Sromova (sic). Do you know her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no idea who she is. I had no idea who my first opponents were. I don't know.

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