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January 21, 2008

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were a little slow to start today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: What happened? I've already played two matches now. I have to figure it out.

Q. You were down Love-3 in the first set.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't down Love-3. Didn't I hold serve the first game? Are you talking about the doubles? I don't know. I can't remember. Are you sure? Did I serve first? No. Next question.

Q. It seems like you're playing well enough, winning and getting out of tight spots.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the last couple rounds I've definitely played some players who had some interesting strategies as far as going for broke and just, you know, every ball as hard as they can a hundred percent.
So it's just definitely different to play that kind of match opposed to someone who is playing, I mean, more normal tennis. So I felt good about the match.
You know, she made a lot of good shots there, but just tried to keep a steady level of play.

Q. Thinking about all the years coming to this tournament, what do you recall about your first trip here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, man, what do I recall? When was that? I don't recall too much today, do I (laughter)?
It was just great times. Everything was exciting. You know, I would call home. I would tell my dad, You know, I'm in such and such a round. He would be so excited. I think I won the mixed that year. I brought him home the plate. He was so happy. He just took the plate in his hands and stared at it.
It was all new and exciting. More than anything I had fun. I enjoyed myself.

Q. This year you could meet your sister in the final. She's won many times. How could you beat her this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She's obviously an incredible player. With the occasion, her game goes up to another level. At this point it's not really on my mind.
Of course, I'd love for there to be Williamses in the final. But, you know, we have a couple more matches that we have to play very well.

Q. Ana said before she felt it was time to take a bit of revenge possibly after the last two encounters you have had in Grand Slams. What are your thoughts?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's a great player. I know she'll do her best tomorrow.

Q. She also said it will be a mental battle for her. Do you feel like you're such a big-match player, you go into a contest like that with a real edge?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I do consider myself a big-match player. I do enjoy those times. I enjoy the battle. I enjoy the challenge. And that's about it.
I'll be supporting Serena and going for my own win.

Q. Serena said the other day here she always roots for the younger sibling, so she roots for Eli Manning. Does that mean you root for Peyton Manning?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What's going on with that?

Q. The Giants won today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Really? I don't know anything outside of tennis. So if I start talking about football I'm gonna really have my foot in my mouth. I barely know anything or anyone in football or any other sport.

Q. You don't know Peyton Manning is Eli's older brother?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I do know him, yes. That's where it stops (laughter).

Q. Does it strike you funny that she roots automatically for the younger sibling?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Why not?

Q. Do you find the wide slice here is more effective on the new surface than in previous years?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, my slider's always pretty dangerous, so I don't know. For me, as far as me hitting it, I feel like any on surface it's pretty effective.
As far as other players, you know, a lot of players are a little more petite.

Q. You don't notice a difference this year versus previous years?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the ball stops a little bit. It's unpredictable.

Q. It stops a little bit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. You just have to keep your feet moving. That's the name of the game.

Q. On the slice serve.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Slice serve, no.

Q. Do you prefer playing with the roof open or closed?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, it's the same, I guess. When it's closed, obviously you don't have to deal with sun or wind, which is nice. But it doesn't matter to me.

Q. Last year you won Wimbledon. You were outside of the top 15 at this time. Last year Serena won here. She was not even seeded. Do you think rankings do not count for you; you can beat anyone when you want?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Personally, of course, I love being a top-ranked player. Being a floater is kind of fun, too. I enjoy that. I enjoy kind of the early matchups. It's pretty exciting for me. There's something about it for me that I love.
I think Serena feels the same exact way. But, of course, I do enjoy being higher ranked. That's obviously where I feel like I belong, in the top 10.

Q. Were you surprised last year when Serena won here? She was not even seeded.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I totally believe in her and I know her heart. She has a never-say-die spirit. She's an unbelievable competitor, besides a great tennis player. So, no, I wasn't surprised at all.

Q. Did you watch the Hewitt match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't actually. Which one?

Q. The one that went on after yours.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I actually didn't. I was recovering from my match.

Q. Any empathy for he and Marcos to play at such a late hour?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Like I said the other day, everyone was dealing with the circumstances, every single player, with the rain, and with the day session going late. Everyone was dealing with it.
It's not ideal circumstances, but everyone dealt with it the best they could.

Q. There's a story in one of the local papers this morning saying that when you were approached about changing the match, you said that if that happened you would see that as being racist. Did you say that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Was I quoted as saying that in the paper?

Q. No. It said you were believed to say that.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay, so, you know, any credible writer I don't think would come in here and ask me something like that. That's crazy, first of all. Second of all, you know, I am pleased that the matches went on as scheduled.
But, you know, all this hearsay, I don't deal with that.

Q. I'm offering you the chance to say no. Did you say it or not?

Q. Being asked to consider putting your match on another court or postponing it in favor of the men's match, do you see that as a racist issue or sexist?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just as I said the other day, I explained what the situation was. That transcript is available. But at this point, you know, I'm in the quarterfinals. I want to focus more or less on that. That was days ago.

Q. You had a wrap on your upper leg. Anything serious?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a little something-something. But I'm hoping I won't have to have it tomorrow. So we'll see.

Q. Given four or five years ago, if you had been given the option to go to another court, would the Venus of four or five years ago have done that, or is it a mark of standing up for yourself?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think, you know, it wasn't just me also. It was Sania Mirza also. Both of us wanted to play our match as scheduled, which is a normal thing to want. So I think the tournament did a good job of recognizing the schedule.
And, like I said, everyone was dealing with the circumstances, all of the players, not just one. So we all did the best that we could.

End of FastScripts
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