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August 31, 2007

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Talk about the match. Almost everything was going well, except for the serve, right?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I definitely would like to have a higher first-serve percentage. But it's not something that I'm worried about. I still feel like I can get my serve in. My second serve nowadays has a lot of kick. Definitely bouncing really high.
So it was a good day.

Q. And the return game was real strong. You were stepping in pretty well, taking control of the serves.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it's just coming. I know I'm going to go for it. But a lot of times I'm just hitting it and it comes. So it's nice that it comes naturally.

Q. The way you're playing, you're so calm and relaxed, not having a lot of trouble out there, it's kind of a contrast to your sister. I don't know what you notice when you watch her play. Is that because your personalities are kind of that way or because of where you are right now in this summer of tennis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I got to see some of the second set of her match. I was getting ready. I was thinking, oh, I shouldn't watch this so I don't get tight for my own match. It was kind of a back and forth of "should I?" or "shouldn't I?"
She's obviously is an unbelievable competitor. When push comes to shove, she shoves (smiling). I'm not too worried about whether or not she's going to make it.
As for me, I just feel like I win all the important points and that really makes a big difference in obviously how my opponent feels playing against me, how I feel obviously about the match, too.

Q. When you are this calm and playing this well, is there sort of a cracking point that when you get into a tight match, How do I handle it now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I definitely think I've played a lot this summer and definitely been in some tight moments - not only at Wimbledon but also Fed Cup. I definitely feel like I have those moments under my belt. I don't need to necessarily experience something yet again to learn. So it's all good.

Q. Looked like you came out swinging, let it go all night.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely told myself I can play, I know what I'm doing, to go out there and execute. That's pretty much my game plan.

Q. When was the last time you felt this good about your game in the first week of a Grand Slam?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Let's see. I mean, at Wimbledon I felt I guess more than anything just determined. A lot of times I didn't feel like I was perfect, but I felt really good. The French Open wasn't a good time for me. I wasn't very healthy.
I don't know. Then after that I missed Slams. So this definitely is nice.

Q. So it's been a while?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, to be honest, I always feel like I can do it. I always feel confident, like I go into every tournament going for the win. So on that level mentally I always feel confident.

Q. Ivanovic is looking forward to this match because she feels like her game is rising all the time. Give your assessment.
VENUS WILLIAMS: She's definitely a good player, great competitor, and a nice person. It's good to see good things happening for her.

Q. She recalled a time I think at a junior tournament where she and a friend wanted to take a picture with you. Do you remember that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I wish I did. I wish I could. But there's a lot of people. I don't remember.

Q. I think it was Ancic's sister who had requested it. The two of them have this picture with you.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Wow. I'm glad I said yes. I can't say yes to everyone. I'm glad she doesn't have a memory of, Oh, that girl was mean. It's nice.

Q. Do you remember what you were like at 20?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, foolish. Didn't understand anything. I think it's the same now. Always learning. So, yeah.

Q. If she asked you with that picture in hand now to sign it, what would you say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's so sweet. That would be so sweet.

Q. What would your autograph say on the picture?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Something like, Many good times ahead. Something like that.

Q. Bartoli was talking about playing Serena, Ivanovic, what it would mean for them to beat you at the US Open.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena plays Bartoli?

Q. Yes. Can you relate to how big of a target you are, how big of a win you are for other players?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that definitely players, when they come to play against us, I think they know that they obviously have to play very well. And also on our end, we also know we need to play very well because all the players are also very, very good.
But I think there's definitely a huge mental preparation going against Serena and I.

Q. Stature-wise, you guys are so far up there for some of the players, to beat Serena or Venus at the US Open on Ashe is a big deal for them.
VENUS WILLIAMS: For sure. Yeah, it's a big deal.

Q. Do you feel right now it's great these young kids are coming up, Ana is telling us how she admires you, do you want to say, It's not their time, I'm still here? Do you feel that determined right now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: When I come to the tournament, I'm coming to win. I'm not necessarily thinking about the next player's chances or if it's their time or not. I am definitely focus inward on what I'm doing.
Everyone gets their chance. You work hard, you get what you deserve, if that's a win or a good result.

Q. Both of you have tough draws. There is a potential for a semifinal.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're a couple rounds away. I think as long as we keep playing well, stay determined, it can happen. That would be nice for us, for both of us, to get as far as we can, one of us to be in the final. It would be great.

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