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January 17, 2009

Venus Williams



Q. Why do you think the Australian Open has alluded you so far?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, unfortunately I wasn't the best player at this tournament. There were other players who played a little better. Pretty much explains it. Always gave my best effort. Of course, I'm happy with that.

Q. Does it give you extra motivation that it remains a title you haven't lifted yet?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Extra motivation? I mean, I don't think of it that way. I want to play my best tennis. I don't feel any extra, you know, pressure or anything like that because I haven't been fortunate enough to win here.
But, no, I just stay focused on what I need to do. Obviously, I want to win every event. But does it happen? No. But I want it to.

Q. How are you feeling coming into this tournament about your prospects?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, obviously I feel good. I definitely feel like one of the players who has the opportunity to take it home.
But, I mean, the matches haven't even started yet so... I've got to get through that first one, then through the rest (smiling).

Q. When you look at the field, who do you think your main rivals will be?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't look at the field that way. I don't look at it at all that way. I really look towards myself and look inwards. So I'm looking to see what I can accomplish on my side of the net.

Q. Do you feel the best player in the world?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, in my mind I always tell myself that. Right now I'm not No. 1, so the number and everything isn't matching up. But I hope to get there.

Q. Is it vital to feel that way? We have Jelena Jankovic telling us unless you felt you were the best player, really there's no point in you turning up. Is that how you feel?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's difficult to go out on the court and look across the net and think that someone might be better than you. So I try not to bring those kind of mentalities on the court.

Q. She hasn't won a Grand Slam tournament, yet she's the No. 1. When you play against someone who has won a Grand Slam tournament, as a Grand Slam winner, do you not take them more seriously, but is that something that counts in your eyes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you're only as good as your last Grand Slam. So that was 10 years ago (laughter), you're kind of a little out of practice.
Like I said, I just focus on what's on my side of the net. I don't focus too much on the next person. I've never functioned that way.

Q. Does the No. 1 ranking really matter? You don't play to be No. 1; you play to win tournaments.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It does matter. Yes, I think No. 1 does matter. It all matters at the end of the day because me and the rest of the women on tour, I'm sure the men, too, we give a hundred percent. So any reward, ranking, tournaments, points, what it may be, it all matters.

Q. Will you be watching at all with the inauguration coming up in a couple of days?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't really turn my TV on a lot. I stay really busy, and then I read and things like that. I'll watch a lot of tennis. I'm a tennis junky. I can't help it.

Q. You're on the same part of the draw as your sister. How have you judged her form? Have you noticed who is in better shape at the moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she's Serena Williams, so just that name means a lot. Hopefully if I'm on the other side of the net from her, hopefully my name will mean a little something, too (smiling).
Yeah, I'm sure she's in good form. She knows how to play tennis and she's a champion. Regardless of anything, that's on the line right there.

Q. Serena spoke this morning about the financial crisis, that she's had to turn down the bling. You've got a nice big ring and necklace. Have you had to turn anything down? She said her bag was only $12.
VENUS WILLIAMS: My bag is free (laughter).
You know, this is my match ring. It's always with me. My necklace was a gift. I'm a big fan of Pave, but I don't have a lot of it. That's all I have to say.

Q. What separates the Australian Open for you from the other slams? What makes it particularly tough to win?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, just starting off the blocks at the beginning of the year, just trying to recover mentally and physically from that last year. That turnaround is always so quick. When you also start the year off, you can also get injured quickly because of just getting your body back into it. All these factors. It's definitely one of the toughest ones to win because of all those different factors.

Q. Do you have a view on the timing of the tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My whole view is that I'm really blessed to be here and I'm living the dream. I'm going to live the dream as long as I can. When the dream's over, I'm going to think about when I was living the dream. So I'm not going to complain.

Q. How long do you think that's going to be?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The dream's still large. It's just big, huge. Yeah, the dream. Like there's stuff being added to the dream. So, yeah, no end in sight.

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