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January 20, 2009

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/ A. Kerber
6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How do you sum up that match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I'm in the second round. Definitely was the goal. And, uhm, yeah, I think she played well. She was left-handed and I think she used that to her advantage. She definitely started to play really well. I was really happy to be able to be out there and hit a lot of balls and find a rhythm and advance.
So, yeah, that was the match.

Q. How did you find the conditions?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I got fortunate. I think it cooled down a lot by the time I hit. I'm a Floridian also. The heat won't affect me as much as maybe the person coming from the winter, the real winter. So I think it was definitely really hot earlier. So I got a little more fortunate, I think.

Q. What about the wind, did that affect you at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think there was wind on my court. I didn't see it. I didn't feel it. Uhm, if it was windy, I definitely would have thrown my toss up a lot more. So I was fortunate.

Q. You ran up the first five games, looks like it's going to be over pretty quick. Do you feel you slipped a little bit or she finally got it together?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think a little of both. She was going for a lot in those first five games, a lot really fast, trying to hit winners, great shots. I think she started to get a few more in play. So I think a little bit of both.
Just what that happens, especially me, I mean, at 5-3, I still feel extremely confident because I'm serving, too. I mean, that's what I want to do, is serve it out. So I felt comfortable.

Q. There's a big event happening in a few hours back home. Does your mind wander back there with the inauguration? Does that inspire you at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I feel so off. I'm firmly in Australia time. Today is Wednesday? What is today?

Q. Tuesday.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, today is Tuesday. Uhm, I don't know really what's happening at home. I don't watch TV. I'm a book reader and stuff, so...

Q. Would you watch it at 3 a.m.?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have a doubles match tomorrow. I really am not political at all. I don't take any political sides. But I obey laws, yes.

Q. Politics aside, does it inspire you with the inauguration and with president-elect Barack Obama?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Can you be more specific, please?

Q. With him being elected as President, does that inspire you in terms of your heritage? Serena mentioned it did inspire her.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's exciting that in America we can have a President -- or that we can have diversity. We've had a long history in America of, you know, in the past racial strife. My parents grew up in the South, things like that. So it is nice to see that diversity, I guess.

Q. Were you surprised that he had such a broad-based appeal beyond the African American community?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think he was the best candidate. So I'm happy that the best candidate was elected, so...
But I really am not a political expert. I know zero. Like I know a lot about tennis, so if you ask me about tennis, I can just go toe-to-toe with you (smiling).

Q. Seeing your part of the draw, how do you assess your possibilities?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. For me it's about getting to that next round. I don't know who I'm gonna play. I don't know who will win. I don't know who will lose. I've got to get there. That's really what it's all about for me.

Q. You didn't study the draw before?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no, because the draw's not a guarantee. So studying it is maybe not the best idea.

Q. You've had one of the lower-profile lead-ups to the tournament. Do you feel you've come in under the radar?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Like I said, I don't watch a ton of TV and I don't read the papers too much. You tell me.

Q. Do you feel this lead-in is one of the best you've had coming into the Australian Open?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm actually feeling pretty healthy. That's, you know, what I hope and dream for. So that's a real blessing for me.
So now it's up to me what I can do with my racquet.

Q. Since you said you know a lot about tennis, can you analyze the men's field for us?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know as much about men's tennis (laughter). Let me narrow it down. I know a ton about my game. I'm sorry. Keeps getting narrower, my knowledge. I still need maturity and years to get wisdom. So hold off on that.

Q. Do you not watch at all the tennis on TV at night, the other matches?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I do. I do watch the tennis at night. I don't know. I don't know who's gonna win. If we could all choose that, then, geez, it would be too easy.

Q. With your fashion business as well coming along, how are you able to juggle the two and maintain your focus on court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: A good team, you know. There's no "I" in team. I can't do it all. My main focus is tennis. I've got great people I work with.

Q. Just on watching other people. Roger Federer at the moment is acknowledged as one of the great champions of all time. Can you not or do you not sometimes watch his game to see if there are things you can learn from him or is it specific to you and that's irrelevant in some ways?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I learn from everyone, not just the greatest players, everyone. People I play against, I learn. So I'm not limited to anything. I try to learn from my mistakes. I try to learn from everyone I play or watch.

Q. A comment on the Miami tournament in terms its placement in March. How important is that tournament doing well because it's really going into the Grand Slam season?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I love Miami because I'm at home. In the past, I've always done pretty well there.
But I want to do well every tournament I play. It's not just Miami I want to play well in, it's every one I enter.

Q. In terms of where it's situated in the calendar, does that give it a little extra panache or anything for players?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never really thought about it actually. I don't know.

Q. Tell us about your driving experience in Melbourne.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I drive everywhere. I drive to Fitzroy. I've driven to St. Kilda. I've driven downtown. I make that wide turn. I get lost. I take detours. I double back and I succeed. I want to try a drive-through. That's next.

Q. What's the secret to driving on the left side of the road for somebody from North America?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You just have to get confident. It's taken me about 10 years. Suddenly I was ready. But I have a lot of confidence now. You know, I don't know. It's much more fun driving here than at home because there it's a chore and here it's like a luxury, kind of like an adventure, because you might not know the way, but you still get there. So it's nice.

Q. What's your favorite part of Melbourne?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I don't know. I like St. Kilda and I like Victoria Street, and I like the Docklands. I'd say if I was going to live here. But I've got to live somewhere where I could walk my little dog. Maybe I'd get a house. I don't know.

Q. How old were you when you got your driver's license? Andy Murray has yet the time to get his.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a big deal in the U.S. So 16. I was 16, yeah.

Q. Surprise you he's not so excited about it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know him that well, so I don't know.

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