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May 14, 2008

Venus Williams


6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Few weeks ago in Amelia Island you said that you had some serious health problems and you didn't know when you would play tennis again. How do you feel now, and what happened after that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel much better. After that I went to the doctor and got a lot of suggestions, and I went home and I worked on it. I just worked very hard during that time that I was on and off the court with my fitness, and I think it's made a big difference.
But it was important for me to take that time off, because I hadn't been feeling well and I just couldn't continue playing like that. It was just too hard. So I finally was able to make the right decisions. I hate missing the tournaments and I felt, you know, sad.
I did go to those tournaments and visit them, but now I'm much better. I think it showed today on the court.

Q. Justine Henin has just announced her retirement. Can you give us your reaction to that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know what the details are, but I think if she made that decision then it's probably the best decision for her. You know, of course my prayers are with her so that way she can continue to lead the life that's best for her.

Q. I think, like you, she's had some illness and fitness problems. Is there anything about the scheduling of the tour or the events that sort of makes it a bit tough for people? She's pretty young to be calling it quits.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I really don't know. I mean, is the schedule tough? Any time you win all the time it is a challenge to keep yourself at the top level and to play very well every time. And you do have to play well, because everyone plays well against you.
Obviously, that's one of the challenges and one of the joys of this job, because most of us tennis players, we love what we do and we enjoy the challenge. We're people that really can rise to the occasion. It takes a certain personality to play a professional sport.
As far as the schedule, I think it's getting better and better. I think it'll be better next year also. I can't say what her exact issue is.

Q. How tough an opponent was she over the course of her career for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she was a great opponent. I think that she always challenged herself to play her best tennis no matter what the circumstances. She was just a real fighter, so I think that was really what made her her best.

Q. She's dominated Roland Garros recently, so does that sort of give a boost to everybody else to open things up a bit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

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