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November 4, 2008

Venus Williams


7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Just take a little while to adjust to playing outdoors again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. You know, I think she played some good shots, some smart shots. I thought she played well. You know, I had a few errors which didn't help. But I was able to make the adjustment in the first set especially at the right times.
You know, there were some tough games there, but they kept going my way. I was very excited about that.

Q. Obviously, she's improved so much in the last six months, what do you see as the main difference?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She's improved a ton. And the thing is the first time I played her was about three weeks ago was our first ever meeting. So I'm sure she's improved a lot before that. But, you know I didn't -- I didn't play her before the last three weeks or four weeks.

Q. Other observations during the year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I didn't watch her a ton before this year, so. I mean, obviously she's become a great competitor. Smart, knows how to play her shots, serves well, is extremely determined and has learned how to win which is really important. She uses her talent. There are so many things she does well.

Q. You seem very relaxed and composed and obviously you're extremely experienced. But is it also because you're feeling fitter than for a while? Why given this ambience off?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Right now, on the court?

Q. Yeah, now and on court.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, on the court I'm always really confident in my ability which is important. But I think every player in this tournament is confident in their ability.
I don't know. I'm a real laid back person. I'm not uptight, so I think that's just normal for me.

Q. Do you come into a tournament like this with any ambitions beyond taking one match at a time? Do you look to have other goals or not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, definitely one match at a time. This is my first time ever playing in a round robin, so it is a new experience, but of course I have a ton of experience with playing big matches and that kind of thing. So, you know, I'm looking forward to the round robin matches.

Q. The fact that if you lose, it's not the end, does that -- are you aware of that altering the way you deal with the crisis points?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, if you lose it's not the end. You know, I think that's really what it's about. Of course, it's better to start with a win, because at the end you're kind of against the wall, your back's against the wall. And you're like, Okay, I need to win two more at least. So I feel definitely great momentum winning first.

Q. With that experiment in the system on the tour for a while and then dropped it. It's, I take it, perhaps not something you would advocate beyond this tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it works for our tour. How long have we been doing it? I'm not quite sure because I haven't played the championships in so long.
THE MODERATOR: Since 2003.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, so we've been doing it a while. It seems to work. Our tour we're bigger and better. If it doesn't work, we find something that does.

Q. You mentioned that during the Olympics that was sort of a pinnacle of your year so far. Do you find at the moment that to an extent you seem to be going through the motions at the moment after your experiences at Beijing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm definitely not going through the motions. But throughout the year there are so many emotions and efforts that you give physically and mentally. It's not always easy to be fresh. But I think I'm doing pretty good.

Q. The other players mentioned that they were probably suffering from the conditions with the wind, the dryness with the heat. What's your preparation been like for coming to Doha as opposed to going somewhere else?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I live in Florida, So I went home, hit some balls and then came over. Nothing complicated.

Q. Were you suffering anything adverse in terms of dehydration that one player mentioned?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm really careful about dehydration. I learned my lesson a while ago. So I don't want to eat my words, but I don't dehydrate very often. I drink a lot, do the right things.

Q. What we saw tonight, was it your best or do you still feel you can improve?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I'm always looking to improve. Yeah, I feel like my best is coming. Of course, happy with the result tonight.

Q. You were down 2-5, I think, in the first. Just wondering what goes through your mind at a point like that when it seems like you're maybe on the verge of losing the set? Also, do you make adjustments? Do you step it up? Do you become more conservative or it depends?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, just a few errors too many along with our playing very well and consistently.
You know, at 2-5, I thought, Wow, I lose this set 6-2, it's got to be at least 6-4. So I just took it from there that I don't give any set away easily. I just took the attitude of trying to get some more balls but still play aggressive.
I think I was letting her dictate the point a little too much, and my game plan was a little strange. So really just playing better tennis. Just playing the ball and enjoying playing the ball, that's what I was trying to do today.

Q. If you see a draw in a tournament sometimes, you can see that maybe you might play Serena. But this is a situation where you know you're going to play Serena, which is a little bit different.

Q. So I'm just wondering does that make it easier? Can you joke about it a little bit because you know it's going to happen? Is it something that might happen? Is your preparation any different or interaction between you different because it's inevitable?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it's the same. We know that we're going to play each other, and I think that we both are happy with the draw. That's really about it. Just focus on trying to win our matches. Not a ton of thought, at least on my end.

Q. Just the election going on back home. Are you going to be watching that? Are you interested in the result? Are you going to be checking that out tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I haven't even turned my TV on since I've been here. I'm not a huge TV person. I'm more into books and other things I'm working on, so I've got a lot of books I'm working on. So my TV might not be turned on.

Q. You don't really care that much about what happens?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not a super political person, so, I don't have any cards in one stack at all. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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