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January 19, 2008

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you assess your match tonight? Were you happy with the way you played?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I felt good with how I played. I felt confident throughout the whole match. I think she played quite well, too. I think she had an interesting game plan: As soon as she got her racquet on the ball, she just hit it as hard as she could and went for broke.
I think that worked for her on a lot of points.

Q. Did she surprise you with the strength of her groundstrokes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think she's known for the power of her groundstrokes. I think, you know, if I chose, also, I could strike it hard every time, also. But, you know, there's different strategies against different players, and that's the strategy she chose against me.
I think it worked well, but I think ultimately I had a little bit -- little bit more than her, and that helped me in the end.

Q. Is it correct that the referee or the scheduling people gave you the option of not playing tonight and holding over to tomorrow?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'll tell you a synopsis of what happened, and I really don't want to take any more questions about that. But basically the day session went longer, and, you know, the tournament did ask if Sania and I would consider playing at Vodafone or playing tomorrow.
Both of us didn't want to, for reasons that we felt like our match was important. We also felt like we wanted the schedule to go as planned and that, you know, we are very good players and wanted to play.
Also for the fact that we were in doubles and Sania is also in mixed. So that makes it very difficult for us too. So the tournament definitely listened to us, and gave us the opportunity to go out there and play some great women's tennis.
I think we're both happy with the result of what the tournament chose, and we played some good tennis for the crowd.

Q. What was it like waiting so long for the Federer match to be over, and what do you do during that period?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've played Wimbledon many a time. I'm very prepared. Plus my sister gave me a graduation gift, it's like an e-book, so I have all my books downloaded on it. It's really the most wonderful gift. For like a week or two I was screaming, I love this thing. Because I read so many books.
So I just have my books on there and I read, and I eat and rest, and I'm used to waiting.

Q. Can you explain the name of your clothing line, how you got that name?
VENUS WILLIAMS: EleVen? Yeah, EleVen is about being your best, so it's above a 10. And also, it's part of my address growing up in Compton: 1117. So it has double meaning. It's about being your best, but it's also like going full circle in my life of where I started and where I am now.

Q. Can you talk about Ivanovic. It will be the third Slam in a row that you've played her.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she's a very good player. She's improved her game. I think that, you know, she's a good player for women's tennis. Yeah, I'm ready.

Q. What do you think the difference was the last couple of times?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What do I think the difference was?
I guess I managed to play a little better on a few shots. So she's definitely learning, getting more experience. I'm definitely playing well with my own game.

Q. So you were kind of scratchy at times tonight, but do you feel going into the meat of the tournament you are where you want to be?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm definitely serving very well. Tonight was, you know, an interesting match because of the way that she was playing. She was definitely trying to dictate, so I just stuck with playing my game and didn't change it.
Ultimately, every time I walk on the court, especially nowadays, I feel confident with my game, whether I've played my best or not my best in previous matches. I feel like I know how to play this game, so I'm going to bring something out there that's special.

Q. So you're saying, too, that if you need to make adjustments you can make the adjustments?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, and I just -- I don't put myself through any more, figure I played well or this isn't going well. I know how to play, so I'm not going through all this mind stuff of whether or not I'm going to be able to do it when I step up out there. I've trained. I need to do it. If I don't, I do it the next time.

Q. Do you have any pity at all for Lleyton and Marcos being out there till maybe 3:00 in the morning tonight playing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel like it's definitely a tough draw, the day match going so long, and no one could have predicted that. No one could have predicted that the circumstances that we all had to play under, so I definitely hope the best for both players.

Q. What's the solution to this sort of thing. Seems like it happens a fair bit where people are playing in the middle of the night.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe you should ask the tournament director. I have to concentrate on my own singles and doubles. I don't have the solutions yet for the organization of the tournament.

Q. Did you catch any of Roddick's match last night? I imagine you didn't stay up till 2:30.

Q. But you obviously saw some of Federer today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I saw a little bit. I didn't watch too much. I try to, you know. There's tense moments, and even if you're not rooting for anyone you kind of go up and down with the players. So I try to stay out of that.

Q. Have you ever thought when you see a great three-out-of-five set match, boy, I'd like to play a three-out-of-five set match someday?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I do imagine what it's like, and I've done it in practice before. I'm sure in a tournament it has to be a whole other level and set of adrenaline and that kind of thing. I mean, maybe one day we'll see.

Q. Was it with Serena, three out of five?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. I was playing against a guy. Actually, I think that guy is on tour now. I won't say any names, though.

Q. Win or loss?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I will not play him again. He was younger; I was younger. No, I actually won, but I will not play him again.

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