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November 5, 2008

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/E. Dementieva
6-4, 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are your thoughts on that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, today was definitely a see-saw battle, back and forth - so many strong shots from the baseline. Both of us running down a lot of balls, so it was just really competitive out there.
Obviously, I want to secure my second win which is important to me, and she wants to start the tournament off with a win, so it was a battle of wills.

Q. We expect a few breaks of serve in women's tennis, but the first set was a bit excessive, wasn't it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the first set had a ton of breaks. It wasn't how I planned it, but it happened. Yeah, it was a little see-saw in the beginning. I guess sometimes throughout the match, I guess.

Q. Is it a concern not to be able to hold serve so many times?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, you can't think about it that way in the match. Because sometimes it doesn't go how you plan. There are shots and plays that aren't as you plan. If you get down on yourself, there goes the match.
So I don't really dwell on, okay, it hasn't gone the way I want. How do I make it go the way I want?

Q. You were 2-5 down against Dinara, and I think you were Love-2 down in the final set today. You fought very hard. Are you sort of more than usually motivated for this tournament do you feel?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I like winning matches, and this is my first championship in forever, so, obviously, I do want to do well. Sometimes I got a little disappointed that I wasn't doing exactly what I wanted. I made a few errors. All of a sudden I'm down 2-Love.
And she was doing a lot of things to get me to make those errors. It wasn't just me. She played really well, too. But I was fighting as much as I could.

Q. You played very well, but there were a few double faults, weren't there. About ten all together.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I think it would have been a little bit easier without the double faults I don't think too hard about my mistakes. I find that never works. I just always tell myself I know how to play tennis, and I move with that. I don't focus and dwell on stuff, because it doesn't work. I just move forward.

Q. How do you feel after a long match like that and two matches in a row?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel solid. And I've got another one tomorrow, so (smiling). I'm ready. I'm born for this. I'm ready.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about playing Serena again, and what it will feel like and how you might approach it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, obviously, everything is so important here. Even the sets are important here. So today I was a little disappointed to give away a set. Obviously, I'm happy to win the match, but I don't want that set to work against me at the end of everything. So tomorrow I'll definitely be going for the win, and just taking everything that I can.

Q. I know that your religion forbids you to talk about politics, but last night was a fairly amazing moment in not only American but human history. Many of us were fairly amazed and thrilled by what happened. Is there anything that you can say as to what your reaction to it is?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, obviously America is a wonderful place. I love my country, and I love living there. I love my passport. But also it is a country that since almost since its beginning since it was supposed to be a place where people were escaping intolerance, it became a country that was really intolerant of different minorities and skin colors.
So it's interesting, because just my parents, my dad grew up in Louisiana, a place where he was called Boy and shown no respect. Where he couldn't say anything. You know, his mother was a poor sharecropper. You know, so I'm very close to what things were like in the past.
So I think it's amazing that America has the opportunity to have someone who is a minority of mixed race or whatever you want to call it. Hopefully, it will just give more people opportunities and more people will work hard and say, yeah, I can be my best, too, no matter what my background is.

Q. Did you stay up a bit to see any of it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Like I said, I rarely turn my TV on when I'm in the room. I have to be super bored and desperate. So, no, I haven't really turned my TV on yet.

Q. In the third set when it was back to 3-3 and the game where it's going to and fro and you're feeling sort of it's not going your way, what actually goes through your mind? How do you pick yourself back up when you have disappointments throughout the game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's like I said. I felt like I want to rebound. Then getting back down to the third set I was a little disappointed. I think I was rushing a little too much. Then I tell myself, hey, it's just another extra half hour. Why don't you come out with the win instead of a loss.
So I say all kind of things to myself on the court. Really just being motivated to do whatever it took because she was doing whatever it took. So really just trying to make that one more shot no matter what. So, obviously, it's great coming back from behind.

Q. You mentioned yesterday when asked about what was happening in America, and you said you're not really interested in politics, you do a lot of reading. Is there any sort of reading that you can tell us about that's actually helping with your tennis, or maybe what sorts of reading you like?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've read things that help me with my tennis. But I like good stories.

Q. Any particular authors? Anything in particular?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Right now I've been reading James Rollins, a couple of things by him. I also read gossip books, like People's unofficial autobiographies and gossip (laughing). So, you know, just to keep me entertained. I like a good story.

Q. Lastly, you mentioned about your father's sort of background. As a member of the ethnic minority, does that drive you extra to excel yourself?
VENUS WILLIAMS: As a member of what?

Q. A minority. Does it drive you forward to prove yourself more and more?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think just my competitive spirit drives me forward more than anything. Of course, I'm proud of who I am and my heritage. Most people are, I think, so that's just normal.

Q. The last tournament of the year, this sort of tournament it is very important. What it means for you? In your mind, what is the last thing you have to do and then vacation or I have to finish the best way I can? Or I have to motivate with some results? What is crossing your mind about this tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course I want to win the event. We all do. But I'm really not thinking that hard. I just -- I've gotten so much more relaxed than what I even was before. So I just play day-by-day, and just keep -- I'm just real relaxed and just keep playing. So focus on the day, not necessarily the whole event.

End of FastScripts

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