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September 1, 2008

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/A. Radwanska
6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Easy first set and not so easy second set.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that obviously she's a very good player. She raised the level of her game, started trying to attack more, move in, playing more aggressive shots; that was smart of her.
So I think that she got a break and that was -- or was it two breaks? I don't remember now. She had some opportunities, but fortunately I was able to get them right back.

Q. Your net play sort of saved the day for you on many occasions. Talk about the continuing evolution of that.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean nowadays I throw in a slice and loopers. I don't know what's gotten into me. I guess it just comes, and that's good, too. So I like coming in.
If I can have the opportunity to move forward, that's how championships are won. I know that and I've done that before, so I'm definitely going to keep doing it.

Q. What's it like to play with your sister in a Grand Slam? Is it nerve-wracking? Is it fun?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's tough to play her because she is so good. That's hard.

Q. You guys had those two finals in 2001 and 2002, and I think people just thought this was going to be an annual occurrence, yet neither one of you has been back to the finals since. Did you guys think at the time this was going to be the perennial Williams Family Cup almost?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That would have been great. Obviously we were playing very well then, and continued to play well at Wimbledon and win a bunch of those together. Things happen. Life happened.
You can't always predict it. The best part is that we're still here, going stronger than ever in my opinion.

Q. On the one hand Serena is your baby sister and you love her dearly, and on the other hand she's another WTA competitor. You're 8-8 head to head. Is getting a winning record over Serena something you care about?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I would love to win this championship. I have to, you know, hopefully meet her in the quarterfinals, and that will be a huge milestone to get by her to win this championship.
That's pretty much how I see it, as trying to win the tournament.

Q. Still, is eventually getting the winning record over Serena something that...
VENUS WILLIAMS: I would love to have a winning record. I have a chance.

Q. This great summer that you're having, do you appreciate it more because you went through that patch in late '06 where you were out for a while?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I liked being there. I had no responsibilities. I didn't have to do anything except show up to the tournament. The fines were super low. It was great.
So I didn't mind that. I was silver exempt and I loved it. That was a great period in my life.

Q. So this is tougher now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's tougher now. The expectations of being in the gold exempt, there's a lot more that you have to do. My days of silver exempt, I rejoiced and loved them.

Q. So you're kind of ruining it now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: They asked me if I wanted to upgrade at the end of the next year and I was like, No, thank you. I'll stay where I am. Give me one year to play tennis and nothing else and that'll be great.

Q. Do you think that's the one way you and Serena are different? Serena seems to eat up the attention and expectations and whatnot.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, silver exempt and gold exempt is, you know, it's a completely different thing. I don't know. I think more than anything she likes to win. She loves her job and loves what she does and loves the competition and all that comes with being able to be at the top of what you do, best in the world. Ultimately that's what it boils down to, I think, for both of us.

Q. What have you seen from her so far here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, mostly just at practices we're usually practicing side by side, so she looks pretty consistent, like she's really working on her game. Just getting a lot of the balls on the court, which I thought was good.

Q. Over the years, what strategy have you developed? You guys played at the weird time of day where shadows and sunshine are on the court. It seemed like both of you were struggling a bit with the serve and toss. Do you have to change anything?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For me I have no problem with that because I only see the ball. I have no problem with the shadows. It was a little windy, so the wind was changing directions. I have to obviously wait until you get a good toss. I'm fine with any conditions.

Q. You don't think it's okay to go for the body shot when you have your opponent at the net? I mean, you like hold back from going for the body shot. Is it that you don't like that, or it's not nice to do that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I play the best shot, whatever that shot is. Do I go for the body? I go for whatever shot is the best. If it's body or if it's a lob, a slice, I do that. Whatever it takes to win.
I mean, obviously being a great sportswoman I have no problem with anyone hitting at me, and I don't think anyone really has a problem with being hit at. That's just the sport.

Q. But you have several chances to do that during the match, and...
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just missed a couple shots. At the time, I was going for what I thought was the best shot.

Q. Over the years, how has the dynamic of playing Serena changed at all? Is it easier? More fun? More difficult? How has it changed?
VENUS WILLIAMS: How has it changed? I would just say that more than anything I just -- I'm focusing on what her game is about and trying to get past that hurdle.
I think if I had a sister and she wasn't very good, then it would be just not really a big deal because I would beat her. But she's very good, so I have to figure out, okay, how can I win this match?

Q. Obviously you don't have control over the draw, but what was your reaction when you saw that if you guys both did well that it would lead to a quarterfinals?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, we have played each other before. As we continue to climb up the rankings - and Serena is at No.4 now, which is great - and I'm going to keep working on my ranking and keep trying to improve it. Hopefully it'll get to the point where we meet later in the draw.

Q. Could you please elaborate a little bit about Agnieszka Radwanska, her potential and tennis skills? She make big improvement lately. What are her weakness and strong point? For example, you have 14 chances to break her serve, but you could only earn five. What does it mean?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's just the match for today. I think that she does a good job with getting a lot of balls back. I think she handles the pace very well. She can put some pace on the ball and also raise it up.
I think she has a particular style of game that's different than most people, but it really works for her. I think it probably helps because most people don't play like her, so it can throw you off if you're not careful.

Q. There were reports tonight about a hurricane possibly hitting New York as early or Friday. If you're still in the tournament and we have to delay the finals or the semis, how would that impact on your play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I never been in a hurricane. I usually fly out. Hopefully I'll -- I might have to leave. I don't stay for storms. Nothing you can do.
Then after the storm there's no gas and the store is empty, so I usually leave and come back about after a week when things go back to normal.
If it hits I might have to go. We'll see what happens. I have not been following the news with the storms.

Q. Just came out a few hours ago. In fact, here on Long Island.
VENUS WILLIAMS: What is the name of the storm?

Q. Hannah.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have my shutters up at my house, so hopefully if it hits my house then it'll be okay.

End of FastScripts

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