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January 22, 2009

Venus Williams


2-6, 6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously a difficult loss. Would you tell us what happened, what went wrong out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I think she played some really good tennis. She was super consistent and aggressive and just went for her shots. I think she just played really well.

Q. What do you think made the difference? You looked in control of the match the first set. It turned around after that.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, like I said, she played well. You know, I think she took her opportunities and really showed a lot of character.
It's pretty close after the match. We haven't quite figured out exactly, you know, which areas went wrong. But I definitely have to credit her.

Q. What did you make of the crowd? Did you feel at all like the crowd was against you at times?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I focus so much on the ball, I don't really focus too much on the crowd, so...

Q. You don't notice the cheering during the match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course, I notice cheering. But more than anything, I'm focusing on my game plan and what I'm trying to achieve at that moment.

Q. What did you know about her going into the match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've seen her play before. But obviously she played very well. Probably one of her best matches she's ever played.

Q. Are you surprised?
VENUS WILLIAMS: When you go out on the court, you got to expect anything. So, of course, everyone out here is professional, capable of playing great. So I'm not surprised at how well she played.

Q. Do you think maybe you played a little bit too defensively in the third set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I wasn't in control of the points. I definitely noticed that she kept getting the first shot. I was definitely playing defense. I'm definitely used to dictating the points a little bit more. It was kind of a pattern that wasn't the best for me.

Q. How heavy were her balls?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She hit a lot of good balls. I felt like I was hitting my balls a little too short. I think she was taking good advantage of that.

Q. Were you feeling a hundred percent out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Like I said, I think she just played well. Really, really played well.

Q. On your part, is it a little bit maybe the fact you come in here without a lot of matches? Maybe historically you haven't had a strong showing here at the Australian Open.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that, uhm -- I think that when you lose a match, you have to kind of look at the mistakes you made. I'm not going to blame anything on, you know, previous matches that I played or didn't play.
So learning from this match, I'll definitely see what I did wrong, what could I have done better.

Q. You haven't played a lot of matches this year, obviously.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I played five matches before. So maybe more matches isn't good - not for me. I feel like I did a good preparation before.

Q. Are you beginning to feel like you're jinxed in this tournament? You went out in the first round in '06. Is it frustrating?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't believe in jinxes because I don't believe in witches or warlocks or magical creatures and stuff. Therefore, I can't believe in a jinx.

Q. It's not long afterwards, but what is your overwhelming emotion at the moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think, of course, I would have liked to have played better. I definitely would have liked to play better. I mean, that's really what I feel like now. I spent a lot of time preparing and I would have liked to have played better.
But I think, yeah, that's really it right now.

Q. How deep is the sense of disappointment then?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I mean, losing's never the best fun, to say the least (smiling). But fortunately I've also had a lot of nice wins, too. So hopefully that will balance it out.

Q. You closed out plenty of close matches at Grand Slams. Obviously tonight you had some opportunities to close it out. What kind of turned it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know, I didn't feel like I was in the right position in correlation to the ball. Felt sometimes too close, sometimes too far. Just really not getting my footwork right.
I was just not taking advantage. I'm definitely used to taking advantage of my opportunities, but today it didn't work out.

Q. She was in the quarterfinals at the French. Do you see her following through with this, doing better than that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think she's obviously very talented. This is a great sport where you can choose your own destiny. Obviously she has a lot of opportunities in her future.

Q. I'm talking about your opponent.
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's what I meant, yeah.

Q. 14 years into your career, how hard do you take losses like this?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't like to lose just as much as the first day when I started playing. So it's still the same.

Q. Hard? Harder? Something you're going to carry for days?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have to play a doubles match tomorrow, so I need to recover and get ready for that because I still want to play well. So that will be my next focus, then getting ready for the next tournament after this.

Q. Is it hard sometimes when you've been in the game for so long to find that motivation all the time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because I love what I do. So for me I like the hard work because it usually pays off.

Q. Does not having a Williams sister semifinal on the horizon help Serena's prospects here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, Serena's a great player no matter who she plays. So I don't look at it that way at all.

Q. I know you won Wimbledon last year, you're still towards the top of the game. A lot of these young players, the teenagers, seem to be getting pretty good, strong off the ground. Do you feel that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Everyone's good. Everyone's always been good. And, uhm, you have to go out there and be ready to play no matter who that person is across the net.
So that's the way the sport has always been.

End of FastScripts

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