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July 1, 2008

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/T. Tanasugarn
6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus Williams.

Q. What's the situation with the hamstring? Is it the right one? When did you notice it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm fine. I mean, I'm walking around on two legs, doing good, so I'm not really concerned right now, no.

Q. Did it happen in that match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, there's really nothing happening. I think just regular maintenance and I'll be fine I think for the doubles.

Q. Looked like you were limping off at the end of the match. A little bit of a slow pace.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess so. I mean, I just had to run on the last point, so I guess I was tired. I don't know.
But I promise, I'm fine. Thank you for your concern, you guys.

Q. Can you say, was it the right that the temporarily bothering you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, the left.

Q. What are your thoughts on the match today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was a good match. Obviously she was playing well to get to the quarterfinals.
You have to play really well to get to the quarters of a slam. I think her game is really suited for the grass. Her serve is a slice that turns into you and it stays low. Her shots are really, really low to the ground.
A lot of time I think I was battling just to stay down on the shots, and I felt good when I got one up in my strike zone.

Q. What do you think makes your game so well-suited for the grass?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I think I have a lot of power, so it helps (laughter). Definitely the power helps, yeah.

Q. What are the other attributes of your play that really help when you play on this surface?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I'm aggressive, so that helps a ton. The ball's gonna go through the court if you're moving forward. My serve is very difficult to return on this surface. Once it bounces, it's just going even faster maybe.
So I think all those factors help a ton.

Q. And how does your serve compare with Serena's?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're different. I serve big almost every time. She goes for a little more placement. She might mix it up a little more. I mix it up, too. But I serve a little bigger, I think, more consistently.

Q. You were serving bigger than you normally do. Cracking the ball today. Is this one of those days where you started out and the rhythm felt so good you just pumped up the volume on the serve?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my key has been serve in this tournament. Any time I'm down breakpoint, double break or something like that, my serve gets me out of it.
The challenge this year has been the sun. I've never had to serve in the sun at this tournament. I've played every day at noon or 1:00 and it's always cloudy, so I'm over there trying to serve. I can't see the ball after I serve. I'm blinded, so it's pretty interesting.

Q. Did you feel the one place where you somewhat got into trouble when you had some odd points were when you let her play into the points and you had longer rallies?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, she was good off the rallies. You know, she was hitting the ball really deep, and then they were just going high and then it bounces in on the line. She was moving the ball around very well. I think that's what got her obviously to the quarters here.
So I think I have a little bit more I think in my game than maybe the players she played before, and that helped me get through it.

Q. I believe she converted just one of 10 breakpoints. Could you speak about the mental process you go through when you are facing a breakpoint? Because it does seem when you must you absolutely produce an ace or something unreturnable.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I really expect that from myself. I expect when times are tough to really get going. That's, you know, been the basis of my game I think for a long time.
Just in those breakpoints you've got to play better, so I'm really blessed to be able to have a serve to get me out of those issues.

Q. You had the one really long game in the first set. When you came through that, do you think that was a key to the match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that was a good game in the match, because if I would have lost serve there I would have been disappointed because I'm not used to losing serve twice in a row.
It would have been a little bit different, I think, the dynamic. You know, I was a little bit disappointed to be facing those breakpoints. But it's important to not think about the past, but look forward and think about the present. So that helped me in that game.

Q. You've won a lot of different tournaments at a lot of different places. Do you think a person has a special relationship with a place, with a tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think so. I think some players have played well in different places. Obviously for me it's here, and that's awesome. I think here and probably the US Open are my best slams.
And I don't mind. Those are the two biggest ones, so it's good for me.

Q. At the beginning of the year is this the tournament you are looking for? You are already thinking during the other tournaments of Wimbledon? In Rome you were playing aggressive on the net a lot. Is it a process to Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really, because it's so far away at the beginning of the year. No, not really. I think my dad thinks that way, though, to be honest. He's always talking about that.

Q. Have you and Serena consciously decided not to talk about a final until you get there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, 'cause we don't really talk about tennis a lot. The most we talk about tennis is when we're on the doubles court. We discuss the strategy and pump each other up.
But, no. We want to deserve to be there. We have to play the best tennis to deserve it, so our aim is just to play better than our opponents and really deserve to be there.

Q. What are your thoughts on the Dementieva? What is most challenging about her game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She tries really hard. She fights really well. She has good movement. I think that's really some of her strengths. And she's a very consistent player, so I think that that's what she does well.

Q. Do you have any special empathy, given her difficulties in closing out matches that are pretty well-documented? In fact, when you were out there today, she had great trouble closing out her match. Do you recall some of the problems she's had?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I really haven't watched her that closely.

Q. With the top four players going out, is there a feeling among you and your sister that the two of you can back to the very top of the game and perhaps dominate as you did a few years ago?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think it doesn't matter for us how the next player's playing, we believe that we're the best on the court at that moment. So it doesn't matter who's in the tournament or not in the tournament. This tournament or any other tournament, it doesn't play a factor in how we feel about ourselves.

Q. A lot of people are making you favorite. Do you feel favorite now for this tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's nice to be favorite, that's for sure. But I'm gonna go out there and work just as hard as if I was or if I wasn't the favorite.

Q. Tomorrow is going to be the 20th anniversary of Steffi Graf's first win here in Wimbledon. You played her in her last appearance in Wimbledon. What do you remember of her or that match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I missed this volley, forehand volley. Yeah, I didn't know that much at the time. It was tough. I was very young and hadn't played a lot of tennis. I mean, I think I was 19, but it was really only my second full year on the tour 'cause I went to high school and stuff.
I learned my lessons, and by the next year I won.

Q. Which comes first, proving you're the best grass court player at Wimbledon or proving you're the best grass court player in the family?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't have anything to prove at all. I'm very happy and blessed as a person in my life. I think just to be happy and healthy enough to be here playing, that's really all it's about.

Q. After the US Open last year you had some medical issues. Your mother talked about getting you up to someplace for a complete workup. What have you found out about your body and what you need to do to stay completely healthy?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I need to pray continuously and hope for the best.
I don't know. I've been really unlucky. I just want to feel good all the time, just be healthy. That's all I want.

Q. Any repeat of the anemia that you had at the US Open?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Has there been a repeat? I mean, it's just something that you have to always be working on. It's not overnight cure.

Q. Walking upstairs, there are pictures of the past champions. There's 2000, you. Eight years is a long time to dominate in tennis, isn't it? Are you a little surprised that you're still up there, having won here is 2000 and back in 2008 with a chance to win?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm very excited, surprised. I'm not sure what that girl in 2000 was thinking. I think she was reading like a Harry Potter book. You know, the 27-year-old Venus also read the Harry Potter book, so not much has changed. It's still good times, and I love that.

End of FastScripts

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