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November 8, 2008

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/J. Jankovic
6-2, 2-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. You had to fight very hard for that, didn't you, especially in the final set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely in the final set. But all of these matches this week have been intense, and about a fight. So I was ready for that.

Q. What got you through the match today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I think what got me through the match was just being consistent I think at the right times. Of course, my game was about being aggressive and taking chances, but today I really needed to put a lot more balls in play and be a little smarter.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about that very long game at 3-2 in the final set which had, I think, six deuces?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know. I don't remember if I was up 40-Love or something like that, maybe. But I got a lot of support from my box in that game, because I was a little disappointed in some of the errors that I was making. You know, I needed to just make my shots and, like I said, make my play was powerful and consistent. So winning that game helped a lot. I just needed to hold on to my serve, that helped me feel positive.

Q. Were you physically stressed in the last part of that final set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I was okay, I was okay.

Q. As well as attacking through some of the match, you also had to spend some time containing as well while she attacked.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did spend some time playing some loopier shots and running down some balls. Yeah, so. I had a few shots, and in the second set where I had some balls just flying like crazy, so I thought that can't keep happening.
So I took a little bit off after that, and as a result, I did play a little more on the defensive than I usually do, but it was worth it.

Q. This is the biggest final you've never been in before what, does that mean to you to make it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've been in a bunch of pressure situations, so it won't faze me, I tell you that. I'm ready for it all.

Q. But is it pleasing to you to sort of fit that one into the rest of your achievements?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, absolutely. It's definitely pleasing. This tournament is huge for us now. Obviously, it's the pinnacle of our tour. So this is the highest point that a player on our tour can reach.
To be honest, I've been really honored to be part of this event this week. It's really elite. There is a huge difference between this tournament and the rest of the tour tournaments. So you can definitely feel that difference at the end, I have felt it.

Q. Zvonareva, what are your thoughts about playing her? What are your memories from playing her in the past?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, my thoughts, of course, I'll go into this match and just focus on what I'm doing. That's all I can do. And use that to the best of my ability. I mean, we've played a number of times, I guess I have a little bit of advantage. But, hopefully that will help me tomorrow.

Q. What sort of player would you categorize her as?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I think she's definitely an aggressive player. I think she's smart. She's learned a lot, I think in this past year, and come back from injury to play even better. And she has a lot of talent.

Q. On another matter, Billie Jean King was talking during the week, and talking about her role in what happened 30-odd years ago and everything. And she said of all the players currently playing, she sees you as the sort of leader figure as she was in those days. Do you go along with that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I mean, no one's a Billie Jean King. She's a legend (laughing). I'm playing on her tour. So, you know, I do try my best. I'm a player council member, and I do my best when I can for my sport. And that's what, really, I think all of us do. And I just do my best.

Q. But you play, the things you said and wrote had a lot to do with equal prize money issue?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we won. Some equal prize money, I'm excited. But, like we all said, it was just about the quality on the grand scale for women around the world. So we're doing that with UNESCO now, and I think that's going to be a wonderful initiative for years to come for the women tennis players, for us to make a difference.
So I'm excited about everything that's coming up, you know, off the court.

Q. To be a little bit smarter, how much is connected with your physical condition, which is, in my opinion better, and how much is connected with something you change in your technique? You do something different? Did you try to do something different?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My condition is better than when? Than like August?

Q. August, yeah. I think in August you lose a strange match with your sister. You almost won.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, well that's the past now. The bad luck. (Indiscernible) but in any case, is my technique better? I'm always working on my technique. That's tennis. You're always working. Always making sure nothing goes off. Things always go off, but you try to keep it in line.
Of course, I'm always working on my conditioning. Next year, I'm going to try to come back even stronger. Going to try to get more muscles. But with my body type, it's really tough.

Q. Did you change something in your preparation in physical training or not, or is everything the same?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I'm the trainer boss, but I push myself hard. I'm motivated, so, I'm the boss of the trainer.

Q. What are your thoughts on this being are a round robin format eight players as opposed to the previous system with the 16-player knockout?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the eight-player round robin is good. Because the top players, for the fans, it's good to see the top players multiple times. So I think that's a good selling point, to be honest. I like it.
It gives players an opportunity to work their way into a tournament. I think it creates drama, too. Because you have to win sets, you have to really win everything that you can. And you never know at the end if you're going to get through or not, and you just might squeak by. So I think it's a good format.

Q. Now that you've beaten the world's No. 1, do you think that you can slightly take your foot off the accelerator?

Q. Take your foot slightly off the accelerator now?

Q. Will you treat your opponent tomorrow slightly different then?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, I don't know. I think she's playing very well and confident. But I haven't really thought about what I'll do in that match yet coming off this match so close. But, obviously, I'll stay, you know, playing intensely and try not to give an inch. That is really the plan.

Q. Today's match, I noticed that your sister and your mother were both rooting for you. Were you aware of the sort of shouting?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, sometimes I was looking at them, too, like why did I make that error? And I couldn't hear them because they were shouting at the same time everyone else was shouting. I'm looking for an answer. Okay, what did I do? Why did I keep doing that.
But more than anything, I wanted them to say yeah, you can do it. Which they were saying. It's just nice to have support.

Q. And in a week when we've got Barack Obama becoming the first black president in America, do you feel confident enough to put the cherry on the cake tomorrow by winning the tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, but I won't be the first African-American, black, whatever you want to call it winner. So I think Serena won before, so I'm second, maybe.

Q. You were talking about what's good for the tour and next year with the calendar it's going to be more combined events with the men's and women's tour. Do you think that's a good thing? Do you like seeing more cooperation between the ATP and WTA?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the combined events are good. I mean, as we can see the slams do the best, but obviously, they have the most prestige also.
But the combined events are good. And I think if those work, there is no reason not to move in that direction.
But either way, I think both tours are viable business models. I think next year it will be even more so for the women. Especially in a time where all the players are hurt and Nadal played 111 matches this year. That's insanity. I don't know how he did it. He's a brave, brave soul because I would have been crying (laughing). In any case, I think that our tour next year will be very, very good.

End of FastScripts

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