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January 23, 2008

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Why do you think that got away from you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she played good tennis today. Definitely I have to give a lot of credit to her. She played really well, made a lot of good shots. And, you know, I give her a lot of credit for playing good tennis.

Q. Was your strapped thigh any hindrance?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I don't like that tape. I don't like wearing it. But I think it helped me, if anything, for it to not get worse.
But I can't blame my loss on that. I think that she just played some good tennis.

Q. What did it specifically affect, the thigh? Was it the serve, pushing off for the serve?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it normally just affects your movement. I think I moved, you know, okay today. I don't think I ran as many balls down or played offensively on the defensive shot as well as I have in the past. And I think those things definitely make a difference in the match.

Q. She's talked a lot about having more fitness. Did you feel she was running more balls down? How much has she improved in the last few months?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think she's improved a lot. I think she's definitely improved on everything in her game. That's really what it takes at this level. You want to keep improving and playing, because we're all improving. So I definitely think she made a lot of improvements, and that's really good for her.

Q. Do you think you're still improving in your game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely think I'm still improving. That's my goal: to be better every tournament. If I don't have that goal one day, then that's a problem.

Q. Can you specify what is wrong with your leg now that this is over for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I never talk about my injuries. I don't like things to get too blurred up, if I was injured or not.
Hey, I didn't win. I would have liked it to be different. But, unfortunately, I don't have a time machine, so I cannot reverse this loss. If any of you have one, please let me know.

Q. Are you affected by her squeaking when you tossed the ball?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It just means I didn't toss it the way I wanted to. I didn't hear her squeaking.

Q. Second thoughts about two hours of doubles yesterday?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I love the doubles and I was really disappointed losing in the doubles, too. I wanted to win that title. Obviously, going into both the singles and the doubles, I felt like, okay, yeah, this is my title to win.
You know, it all counts as Grand Slams. I love winning in singles and doubles. So I'd do it again, yeah.

Q. Has to be a long time, if ever, since you and Serena lost singles and doubles within 24 hours at a big tournament. If people start talking about the Williams era being over, what would you have to say to them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, there's been a lot of talk every single year. I think what's important to me is what goes on in my head. I've been a champion. I have full expectations and aspirations to continue to play high-quality tennis and to continue to be a champion.
And I think Serena and I, we don't have anything to prove. We get out there and we play our best. I think the way we're playing still maintains what other women are doing in tennis. So I think we still set a very high standard.
Players are still playing very well. Everyone's improving. I don't get too caught up in what the next person thinks.

Q. Is there any lingering bad feeling or unfinished business with the scheduling issue the other night? You were talking to Craig Tiley about it.
VENUS WILLIAMS: That was Saturday. It's Wednesday now.

Q. Do you feel that was handled right? Did you feel like you were blamed for that in any way?
VENUS WILLIAMS: First and foremost, I don't read any of the news publications or any articles, so I'm not aware of anything that was printed, any hearsay or anything like that. So I can't comment on what actually went on outside of maybe this press room or any conversations I had with the tour directors or the tournament director.
I stated pretty clearly in my last couple of conferences how I felt about that.

Q. Obviously you reached the final here and had good results but never quite won the title. Anything in particular that's stopping you winning here? Is it the time of year that doesn't suit you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no one to blame but myself. I definitely could have made a couple more shots today. I have to take full responsibility of my life and my career.
I would love to win here. I still think that I can. Unfortunately, it won't be this year.

Q. What is your schedule the next few months?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm playing in Doha and then Memphis and Miami. I have a lot to look forward to.

Q. You wouldn't consider playing Indian Wells? There's a lot of points there.
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I think you know the answer to that one, so...

Q. The first six of the seven games went against serve. Did you find serving out there hard?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I feel like my serve was not as effective as it normally is; that I didn't get as many free points today. Obviously she returned well. Even when she miss-hit some, it would land in. You know, I think I rely on my serve a lot. So if it's not there for me, I think when my serve isn't as much there for me, I have to grind a little bit more, maybe like someone who doesn't have as big a serve as me. I'm not really used to that.
It is what it is.

Q. The game is indebted to you because you raised the level of play when you were at your very best. Now you're partially responsible for everybody playing better, trying to catch up to you. Have you noticed a difference in the level of play as a group?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess it's my own fault, huh? Maybe I should serve a little softer, not run as fast (smiling).
But I think everyone's playing better. I think she obviously hits a good ball. Everyone's hitting a good ball. Everyone's trying to hit harder, run faster and serve bigger.
I still feel like I do it, you know, just as good as the next person, and a lot of times better. So I still feel confident in my abilities.

Q. Losing the doubles and Serena losing yesterday, in any way do you try to avoid a down feeling?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt bad. I felt like it was me. We both always feel like, you know, we let each other down if we lose in the doubles. We felt bad.
But, uhm, you know, I think the other team played well, too. They just hung in there. They play a lot of doubles, too. So I think, you know, on some of the points, they were just a little bit better because they're playing doubles 24/7. So hopefully we'll play a little more doubles and make some better shots.

Q. How many tournaments do you plan to play doubles in?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. We'll see. I mean, I would like to not be strapped, if possible. So we'll see. But I do enjoy the doubles. I think it helps the singles.

Q. All the slams, though?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Probably not. Maybe Wimbledon. We'll see.

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