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July 6, 2007

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. How much does it mean to you to be in your sixth Wimbledon final?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it's so exciting. I've had so many great times here. It's really an amazing stat. I guess I'm feeling proud of myself for that stat, but I don't want to take anything for granted going into the final.

Q. How confident were you at the beginning of the tournament that you would be making the final?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't thinking about the final at the beginning of the tournament. I was just thinking about the first round, which was pretty tough.
It just seems like ages ago now, especially with all the rain. With all the conditions this year, the rain and the wind, I feel like I had to play some of my best tennis to get through that against some great players so it's very exciting.

Q. What do you make of your first and second-round matches where you struggle, then beat three top five players like it's nothing? Is it playing into a rhythm, physical?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's just all about doing the right things at the right time, obviously believing in myself. I always believe in myself. I feel like no matter who I play, I have the advantage going up.
I feel like I do so many things well, I actually have a great reputation behind me, too. I think it's a lot of factors.

Q. What is it about the Williams sisters and the Wimbledon final?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, Williams, Wimbledon, starts with a W probably. I don't know.

Q. You both seem to love playing here and do really well. What is it that brings out the best in you here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We just take Wimbledon so seriously, Serena and I do. We urge ourselves along. We'd see Pete Sampras winning. We just have traditions here we do when we get here.
We just love this tournament. We understand what it means. So somehow we just pull it out of the bag here.

Q. If this had been the case earlier, to play Justine, maybe vengeance would have been a theme, she having beaten Serena. Does that still come into play when you have a situation like this?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's a wonderful thing for you writers. Quite honestly, I'm not going to feed into that or get caught into saying anything silly, so you're on your own. Write your own wonderful story.

Q. Will you talk to Serena about playing Justine?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course I will. Serena's always so motivating. She was so motivating today. We always tell each other our huge our serves are, just how fantastic we move.
Oh, wow, you're so great. We just build each other up (laughter). We always are so positive to each other.

Q. You won this at 20 and 21. Now you're 27. Almost an old lady in tennis years. Do people respond to you differently? Are they pulling for you more?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think people are really positive here. I felt in my first-round match, when I finally got a game, everybody was like, Yeah. I was like, Yeah.
All in all, I think everyone is excited to see good tennis. That's what I try to do, is play good tennis.

Q. Why do you think you have such a good record against Justine?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I always liked playing her. I think that's why. I felt like my game went well against her. I haven't played her in a couple years probably. Mostly because I just haven't been around.
I always enjoyed playing her. I felt like my game went well against her. Quite obviously if she's in the final it will be a good match-up for me.

Q. At what point during this tournament did you sort of feel like you were really rolling and you could reach the final? I know you always have confidence, but any point in the tournament where you felt something starting to happen for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not in particular. I don't try to think too much. I really just try to focus on my technique. When I'm out there, I really try to focus on things I've practiced on, execute those.
If I play anywhere near the way I play in practice, just play relaxed, I usually have the results. Mostly I'm just thinking about doing what I do in practice.

Q. In your gut do you think you'll win this thing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've had a great record here. I think the odds are changing every day for me. I'll just focus on every point, I really will.

Q. Is that a yes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Why wouldn't I go for it? Wouldn't just sit back and say, Great, I'm in the finals. I'm at the end now. I'm going to go for it.

Q. You had a great answer the other day of finding clarity in the rain. How did you deal with clarity in the sunshine?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It was strange because there were some days where it was all cloudy, the sun would break out. It was so odd. I wanted the clouds to come back because I was so used to playing in the gloom.
The sun did shine today, but I barely noticed I was so focused. Afterwards I did realize that the sun's shining.

Q. Serena was ranked 81st going into the Australian Open; wound up winning. You're one of the lowest-ranked finalists ever at Wimbledon. Do you see any parallels there? Any inspiration?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was so inspired seeing her at the Australian Open. I was like, I want to be just like her. The last time I won here at Wimbledon, she won the Australian. I was just thinking, Serena Williams (indiscernible) the tournament.
We just motivate each other so much. Something about us, no matter what we're ranked, no matter where we are, no matter what the next person says, ultimately we just believe in ourselves, and I think that's what makes the difference.

Q. Is there anything that's just a bit more fun about doing this when people don't expect you rather than working from the No. 1 ranking?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely, definitely, because I've been counted out so many times. And it's okay with me. I've been unlucky with injuries. That happens. But I think that I've had a little spell now where I felt good. I've had a chance to get ready. It's all coming together.

Q. People were also about to count you out on Court 2 the other day. Do you think you would have won that match if Serena hadn't been there courtside encouraging you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My family's definitely been key. Everyone who's been here has definitely been key. Everyone is a huge part of the team. Everyone on my team knows what I've been through this year, how hard I've worked, what this means to me to get to where I am now.
It's just step by step. It doesn't always come at once. So everyone out there, they have, what do you call this, an investment in me emotionally. It's amazing. Of course, Serena, my sparring partner, my dad, my mom, everyone. My physio this week.

Q. Do you ever sit and think about what you and your sister have done, the statistics of so many Wimbledon finals, titles? Do you ever look at the big picture and reflect on that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes when there's video montage, I'm thinking, That's my life. Oh, my God, I did that. Yeah, it's amazing. It's definitely amazing.
To do positive things with your life, for Serena and I, to be role models for other young women so they can do positive things in their lives, too. I think for that I'm most proud.

Q. What does go through your mind when you go into a junior high school, see your picture, young people in adoration?
VENUS WILLIAMS: They're so excited. It's exciting. It's just very, very exciting.

Q. How far do you think Ana Ivanovic can go?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She's already been to the finals of the French. She just has to keep playing hard. That's the name of the game.

Q. There does seem to be an intimidation. Players play really well up until the point they see you and Serena across the net and something happens. What is that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think they still play well. I think Serena and I, we have a way of shutting the next player out. We get the first shot. We have the say. That's how we play.
We've been really blessed to be able to play that way and to have the ability. I think sometimes when we miss a few shots or back up a little bit, the player can get in a little bit. But usually we go back to the way we were taught to play.
I think mostly it's just about us controlling. I don't think it's the fact that the next player doesn't play well. I think they all play very well and they don't give it away.

Q. Do you remember a moment in the third round you double-faulted, Morigami was serving for the match. You broke her at love. Do you remember?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just went into another gear. I was like, I don't know. I just started going for it. She was playing really well. She has a good game for this grass. She hits it low and flat. She was just peaking.

Q. Did you tell yourself any particular thing in that moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Just hit it hard. Just go for the lines. And it worked.

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