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August 26, 2008

Venus Williams


6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Pretty good for the most part, especially the first set, huh?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought it was good. I thought it was just really straightforward tonight. Nothing super special. I didn't try anything too crazy.
If anything, I tried something a little opposite than I usually try. I think I tried a little less and tried to be a little more consistent, so that was actually something new.
But I think she played well. I think her game plan was just to go for everything, and I think sometimes it worked. Maybe it was just a little too much.

Q. You were attacking her second serve right off the bat, though.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I just wanted to get on it. That's what my daddy taught me to do, so just need to do what I was taught.

Q. Been here many times; haven't won in a while. Any different approach whatsoever? You're thinking, Maybe I should do something slightly different?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. You know, since the last time I won I played about four times. Missed a couple years. So, you know, that's -- wasn't ideal, but I still had some solid results here.
But there's really no secret about winning. You got to play better than everybody else, so that's what I got to do.

Q. You seem to play a little bit looser and more freely at Wimbledon sometimes.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I can't even figure it out. I started thinking about that this year, especially with No. 5. I started thinking, Why is it that my first serve percentage is at least in the 60s at Wimbledon, and all this great stuff. But I don't know.
Just maybe it's the love of my life. That's probably what it is.

Q. Were there points tonight where you felt erratic? Seemed to be more unforced errors than winners; was it a product of anything?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I haven't seen the stats yet. I had a few errors that I wasn't happy with, probably three or four that were kind of unwarranted.
But for the most part, I didn't feel like I played too many unwise shots.

Q. Is there an appreciation for this tournament as the years have gone on? Have you gained an appreciation for what this tournament means? You've been here now for quite sometime now. This is home for you.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I love having the opportunity to do what I love at such a grand stage and the biggest stadium in tennis. That's more than a privilege. Try to take it a step further and take advantage of the situation and take it home.

Q. Is it special coming in off of Beijing and you and Serena winning doubles gold together? I mean, is it kind of a different gateway into this tournament then?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, that was really such a great moment. I'll definitely be living off that moment for a while, so going to take me a year to come down off that.
In the meantime, I'm going to try to add to that. I'm, of course, very excited to be here and competing well.

Q. Coming off the Olympics, where is your confidence at right now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel really confident. Of course I felt confident after Wimbledon, too. I mean, I felt like, you know, if I could win that tournament, mostly because I felt through the whole tournament that I didn't play worth a dime and I felt like, Oh, I'm playing so bad.
So to be able to win and think that I wasn't even playing well -- I'm sure I was, it just wasn't good enough for me.
After that, I thought, Well, no matter what the circumstance, I can win. So ever since then I definitely been a lot more relaxed coming into tournaments, because I feel like I can just do it under any circumstances.

Q. From the time that you were a really dominant player, do you still feel that way? Do you still walk on the court the way you walked on the court seven years ago when you won here, or is that something that comes and goes with age as you deal with various injury problems?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I think that more confidence comes with consistency of just playing matches. The last few years have been -- you know, I've kind of been in and out. Out for a few months and in for a few months out. I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to just keep playing throughout the year.
I think that just does a world of good. I think it's doing me a lot of good already this year.

Q. Would you describe yourself as completely healthy, or are you still dealing with some stuff?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm pretty healthy at this point. Yeah, I just got to build to get stronger. I'm always trying to get more muscle, so...
That's my life-long night.

Q. Serena was talking about the fact that as a professional athletes pain and injury comes with the turf, and just having to learn to deal with it. Do you think that's the hallmark of really what a long-term, accomplished, successful athlete is?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that being able to understand how to prevent injuries is important, but that also takes a lot of work.
So those off-weeks aren't just off-weeks, they're work weeks. It's really about being disciplined.
Also, there's things that you can't, you know, prevent. Like I sprained my thumb at Wimbledon because I fell in the grass. What can you do? It happens.
So there are things that just happen, too. It's part of sport.

Q. Spadea was describing just preparing for tournaments now. He's 34, and he said it's a lot of pain, practice after practice. You really gotta keep your head in it, and some days it's just not enjoyable.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I think that's even when you're a kid, too. You go out there because you know you need to. I practice, because if I don't I'm nervous. So I have to prepare the best I can.
I mean, that's what it is. You can run and run and run until you're too tired, and then you run a little more and start again. So that's how it is. Now when I'm 34 and I'm still out here trying to play in the 2016 Olympics I'll tell you how it feels, but so far I'm not hurting like him.

Q. Do you still see yourself being feisty and going after it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know if I'll be in the singles, but Serena and I, we did talk, because we love the Olympics so much, we were saying, Oh, wow. We just want to play this forever.
So we talked about playing the 2016 Olympics. Who knows. Maybe by then we'll have a life and not be chasing a ball. Maybe we'll have kids.
If not, even if so, maybe we'll still try to play. But for now we've got a lot more ahead of us before then.

Q. Did you pay any more or less attention to Serena because of the fact that you could conceivably play her earlier than normal?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I practice next to her every day, so I don't really. I focus on my game.
Obviously she can play good tennis, so if I play her I know I just to have play better.

Q. Are you appreciating tennis now as much as you ever have in your life?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I love it.

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