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August 27, 2007

Venus Williams



Q. Big night obviously. Good way to start. All those figures out there on the court, winning on a night like this, what did it mean for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it was definitely a tough act to follow in a way. Just watching the whole hour of entertainment, the whole story, I got to be part of the story, too, it was really moving.
It's like, okay, Williams can't lose tonight. That's not part of the plan. It's supposed to be an all-American win tonight.
You know, I was definitely thinking that. But it was amazing. It was awesome to see all the women. When I came out of the locker room they were all lined up. When you walk out of the locker room, you're walking, you're concentrated, then there are all the women this. It was just exciting because for that second I was just enjoying the moment.

Q. How many of them had you met before?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I know Traci Green. Obviously I know Zina. I've met Jackie Joyner-Kersee when I was 13. Yolanda Adams, I love her. Other than that, Phylicia Rashad, yes, I know her. Aretha, I've met her. I did know a few.

Q. What did it feel like to be around that kind of power?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, it was amazing, just the energy of all the smiles, the well wishes. They all were wishing me so well. Just good things. Just the power of the spirit in Althea, the things she went through, and knowing it's people like her that gave us an opportunity to be here today.
That all these women lined up here are because of women like Althea, and we all really are living up to that, it's amazing.

Q. Since you and your sister have come on the scene, what do you think your impact has been in tennis, the African American community in particular?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think there's a lot more African Americans coming to tennis. I always see a lot of people coming, a lot more African Americans watch tennis. So I definitely have seen a lot more faces in terms of that.
But, I mean, I'm not out there every day in the community, so I can't see on a grassroots level exactly what's happening.

Q. There aren't that many on the tour. The same correlation goes with the PGA TOUR. Tiger Woods has been around about the same amount of time a you. There aren't any other African American players on the PGA TOUR. Why do you think that is?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think it's a tough, tough game to get into. Probably in the community there aren't as many people to play against. There aren't older people who teach as much. I'm not exactly sure, but I definitely think I definitely probably should be more hands-on with trying to do more.
But a lot of times it's tough just to be in the tournament, fulfill my commitments to the WTA and to the fans. I've definitely been thinking about that this year, how I can get more involved. I think I definitely will.

Q. You didn't seem to take very long to get into the match.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt good. When I was playing in San Diego I was really, really tired, but I was playing well. I wanted to pick up from where I left off there. I think she played well.
Definitely her ball was a little bit different. It did give me some challenges. I felt like I was so close to the ball. Maybe I was just running fast hopefully. But it was very exciting to obviously start with two service return winners.

Q. Besides the fact it's the first round of a Slam, does an occasion like this provide extra nerves?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm definitely not necessarily more nervous. I always think my game through. But I feel pretty confident.

Q. And the wrist, the knee? Update on all those?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The knee is fine. I took some time off. I just couldn't get it to calm down. I needed to actually take prescription-strength antiinflammatories to calm it down in San Diego after my first round. I didn't really want to, but I had to to stay in the tournament.
I just realized that I didn't want to go into the Open like that. Took about 10 days off, then started playing again like after Toronto -- probably the middle of Toronto started getting back on the court. It was good. I still had so much to do, but that's life. That's life when you win.

Q. Did you know when you hit the serve, how fast that was?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't realize it. I was so excited because I wasn't even trying. It just comes. Even when I'm trying just to say, Okay, I'm going to hit a half pace with placement, it comes 120. That's just how it comes.
I'm not really trying. It's so exciting. I was very excited. I wasn't expecting to do that at all. I guess I got to try for one more, 130.

Q. Did you see the number immediately?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't. I think it was after the point. I was like, Ahh. I was so excited.

Q. The clothes, is this part of the new design?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it's all part of EleVen.

Q. Shoes included?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Shoes included.

Q. How did they do on the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: They did very well. They led me to a win quickly. That's what they're supposed to do. They're designed to do that. If I don't win, it's my fault, not the shoe's. I'm wearing everything EleVen now.

Q. Golovin has been beaten by Ahsha.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never really seen her play before, Ahsha that. Obviously it's a wonderful win for her, obviously a great night to do it with Althea Gibson tribute. It's good for American tennis. But I don't know her game very well.

Q. I spoke with Mr. Richard Williams outside regarding the significance of Althea Gibson's accomplishments. How did that influence your attitude, perhaps your performance tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, like I said, I was really motivated because this was a night that the Williamses need to win. What's the score for Serena? 3-All. I guess the girl is playing well.
Serena has a never-say-die spirit. I felt really motivated to definitely bring in the win because of the whole night.

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