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September 2, 2007
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Everyone knows how well she's been playing this year, was that kind of a statement match from you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Statement match. I can't say that I'm not here to prove a point per se. I'm definitely out here to advance to the next round, to make my chances better, to get obviously to the title, which is the ultimate goal for every player.
So no matter who I'm playing, I'm not out there to prove anything or, so I beat so and so. It's important for me to get to the next round.
Q. Are you back to where you were when your sister and you were dominating tennis in the finals here? One of the keys was getting healthy, and then did you ever lose that desire to get back there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Never. I never lost the desire. Definitely had some tough losses. Even early this year trying get back and get healthy and find my game. But I think that always builds character and makes the wins a lot sweeter.
So ultimately I love what I do. I love playing tennis and that's why I play, win, lose or draw. Well, never a draw, but win or lose.
Q. Are we jumping to conclusions matching the two Williams sisters in a couple of rounds?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That would be awesome because it would mean that there he is a Williams in the final, and it would mean that Americans have a chance to win.
I think this whole couple weeks has been great for American tennis. Seeing the two guys play well was really exciting. Obviously Serena and I are in the draw, so it's just nice, and James and Andy. Just great.
Q. You kept really serving much better than her. You never allowed her to get really get into too many points.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I have to use my serve as a weapon, and obviously my first serve is a really weapon. So definitely I wanted to get my first serve percentage up today. It's just about being able to perform when it's most necessary, and obviously she's a very good player, really talented and I know that it'll do me a lot of good to get that first serve.
Q. It seemed like even off the ground you were rushing her. You made her uncomfortable on your serve.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that she wanted to get the first hit against me. I don't think she wanted me to get my racquet on the ball. So I think that was a lot of pressure for her. Personally that's how I felt.
Q. Are you playing as well as you did the last couple of rounds of Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The funny part is that I never felt that I played well at Wimbledon. Finally, I looked at some films this week and I was like, Oh, I played very well. Finally the realization came that I did play well.
Q. You started so well in that first match and people were yelling at you.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. No match is a given. You got fight for each and every point no matter who the opponent is. I think all of us professionals understand that.
Q. A couple of years ago I asked your mom about the crowd, and she said that she was surprised that the crowds weren't behind you and Serena, and that now I asked her about it today and she said that it really turned around, and it was amazing how the crowds here really seemed to get behind you and your sister. How do you feel about that and have you noticed it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't hear anything today. I didn't hear any -- only people I could hear was maybe in my box, but other than that most of the time I don't hear. In a zone.
Q. How different do you approach this from Wimbledon? Because your game a somewhat similar. You've been coming in a lot, and hitting the ball pretty big, the way you would on grass. Is the surface similar so it makes it easier for you to play that or do you say, Hey I'm going to play like I did at Wimbledon, why not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely have the game where I'm hitting the set-up shot that I should come in, so I have to obviously do the right thing and come in. I think the courts are playing slower, to be honest. I see a lot of long points now, a lot of people running down a lot of balls. So I don't think the courts are playing too fast as in previous years maybe.
Q. Even at Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Even at Wimbledon, yeah, I think they were definitely playing slower. But, you know, ultimately I'm going to -- anyone who wins a big tournament, is aggressive, take chances and execute. That's how it's done.
Q. You've always been a very composed person. You seem exceptionally calm right now, and through this tournament. Where is that coming from?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. A blessing from God, I guess. When I got on the court I just wanted to not rush, and just take my time, and just go ahead and do what I needed to do, tell myself to just go ahead and take care of the job, if that makes any sense. A lot of times in my head I just try to make it simpler and not let it get complicated, and just really enjoy hitting the ball.
Q. It's been some years since you won here. Do you remember the feeling you had on court then, and can you compare it at all to how you're feeling?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes: Jubilee. Always so excited when I win. No one is more happy than me. So it was definitely very good. I always feel really fantastic winning here.
Q. I mean the tennis itself, how you're playing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: How I feel now?
Q. Yeah. The way you feel about your game.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm always looking to improve. Always, you know, just like I said, I never felt I was playing well at Wimbledon until I finally realized. So I'm trying not to be so hard on myself, and obviously notice the good things that I'm doing, and try not to be an overachiever type.
Q. Do you feel like you have anything left to prove in this game, and that everything that comes now is sort of gravy?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For me I've always tried to take my game to the next level, not just me but my dad. We always try to make new moves and play differently and bring new things to the game, so I definitely feel like there's a lot more that I can bring to the game in terms of my style play: Aggressive. Even the things like playing less aggressive and coming in on a slice, and coming in after a return, all kinds of things I still I can bring to the court, and that's exciting to me.
Q. Did you give your sister any advice on how to play Marion?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I sent her an e-mail because I was asleep when she left the hotel. For sure, we always do that.
Q. Any specific tips?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't reveal that.
Q. Did she give you any advice against Ana?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I saw her before the match and, yeah, she gave me advice.
Q. How much freer do you feel right now without being burdened by injuries as far as running on the court. I mean, you're still dancing even after you win. You're on the balls of your feet. Describe what it feels like to run and hit shots that seem to be much freer.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, it takes a lot of energy, like a lot of strength to move the way that I move, and that's something that I definitely realize coming back from my injury. I mean, I was at zero, super thin.
Not that I'm huge now, I was like -- I had nothing and I realized, oh, my God. It takes so much strength to move like that. So coming back from that injury I realized how many blessings I have and just all the wonderful things that I was blessed with to be able to do and how hard I worked to get to there.
Just starting from zero to get back to that was very challenging. It took a while. For me, moving and hitting freely and running fast is all hard work, but it's worth it.
Q. When Serena was in her first set, obviously very early match, they showed you out on the practice courts. Did you get to see the end of her match at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I got to see the end of her match and she did really well.
Q. So you knew what was happening?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Sometimes I'm saying to myself, Okay, maybe you shouldn't watch the match so you don't get tight for your match. I'm always peeking. I can't help it. I always have to peek even if I tell myself I can't watch.
Q. Did you guys spend time together? When you're at a tournament like this together do you spend a lot of time away from the court? Do you eat meals together? Do you shop?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we shop together. Like we went shopping the first week. I just put on like jeans and a T-shirt and I went to her room and she had on a dress. I quickly left and went to go change. It's like, she looks so good and I went and put a dress on. I started looking good too. We do the sister thing.
Q. How on earth can you go shopping in New York without attracting a mob?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Every day is a little different. Some days no one bothers you and other days when I'm walking the dog and like the other day the bus driver jumped out of the bus. Stopped the bus, jumped out, and was running. I was like -- that day like everybody was, you know, seeing me. Just depends sometimes.
Q. When you guys shop, is it one of you goes in and puts on something and the other one tells, do you like it or you don't? Is it like that, like going out with a girlfriend?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. We kind of compete, try to run through the store and compete to find the best outfit. If it doesn't fit the other then we switch. Sometime we try on something that's looks -- like we know the outfit is terrible and we try it on just for jokes. We come out looking horrible and we laugh and take pictures, so it's funny.
Q. You said before when you're out there you're in a zone and you really don't hear all the voices. But you do get a sense of how many people like to see you play and how much they want to see you win? How do you get that sense?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think well, a lot of times, you know, if I'm hitting really good shots, like powerful shots or running down shots and doing things that are just, you know, really great, then I definitely feel like I'm entertaining the crowd and I feel like they're definitely into this like, Wow, I'm getting to see something. I'm being entertained. I do like that feeling.
Q. Where is your favorite place to shop? SoHo? Bloomingdale's? Madison Avenue?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've really slowed down on my shopping for once in my life. We went out the other day and I bought a pair of shoes. Finally I don't need anything. Feels free.
Q. What are you and Serena most competitive about with each other? You guys are such great competitors. I would imagine the problem might not be tennis but something completely away from your career.
VENUS WILLIAMS: What are we most competitive of?
Q. I asked Serena who was faster and she wouldn't answer. If you want to that's great.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Who's faster? We move different. I'm tall. It's completely different how we move. I don't know. We don't really compete. We just try to help each other more or less.
Q. If you play Jankovic, I'm sure you want to show her that you're a lot better than you showed in the last time you played her.
VENUS WILLIAMS: She's a good competitor. She played well and deserved to win. I've definitely improved since then and gotten healthier. I feel a lot better and gotten stronger. It's a progression, and ultimately the best competitor will win and one of you won't.
End of FastScripts