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March 28, 2009

Venus Williams


6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were down Love-3, 0-3. What are you thinking at that point?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, at that point I'm thinking I've got to get started. So it was only one break. Hold serve, break. It's even. Back on serve.
And, you know, I haven't played in almost four weeks, so just a little bit of a slow start. But I always felt confident.

Q. This might not apply as much with this tournament because you haven't played in a couple weeks, but what are your thoughts on the bye for the first rounds? Does that help your game, or do you feel your opponents might have an advantage because they have had a chance to get rid of the jitters to get used to the conditions?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't -- I'm personally ready to play under all circumstances. That's pretty much how I feel.

Q. You mentioned that you hadn't played in almost four weeks. Does that give you any -- going into next year and years beyond that, thinking about playing Indian Wells and playing a tournament, some event in between the Australian Open and this?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've had a great year in Australia, winning the doubles, and winning in Dubai and Acapulco. I've been successful and I'm happy with it.

Q. Talk about the last three games. Seemed like the first three were something that kind of opened your eyes, and then the last three basically of the entire match.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think the last three games were good competition. I think it was fun for the audience. And that back-and-forth is kind of classic tennis. Obviously I'm happy when I come out on top of that.

Q. She is pretty tough, right?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she tries on every shot, every ball, every point. Even if it's 5-1, she's still trying to get that game and win that set. I appreciate her attitude. It's refreshing.

Q. Did you say anything to her about the Dubai incident?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I didn't see her until right before the match, so, you know, we both were focused. Obviously I haven't seen her in Dubai or in Acapulco. So that was the first time I had seen her since everything happened.

Q. Your sister played Alexa Glatch today. It was 3-2, but it seemed like a tougher match than that. We asked Serena about it. Do you worry about the state of American tennis when you guys leave the game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Right now, we're doing good things for American tennis. To be honest, when you're out there training and preparing, you're just thinking about what it's going to take for you to get to that level, not necessarily about American tennis. It takes so much energy just to maintain your own game.

Q. Did you hope at one point that more minorities, young ladies would follow in your footsteps?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I just hope to help, with what I do, to help and inspire people no matter who they are.

Q. I wrote to you on February the 24th about three young black girls in London who are in great need of help. I was just wondering whether you got that letter and whether you plan to reply to it?

Q. It went via the WTA.

Q. Maybe I could send a copy of it.
VENUS WILLIAMS: That would be great.

Q. Could you tell me who to send it to?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To my agency. IMG.


Q. Were you surprised at all today that Shahar had a lot of support from the Israeli flags in the crowd considering this is the United States and not Israel?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I did see one flag, but I don't look in the crowd that much. I don't hear too much on the court.
So unless the stadium is really loud, I mean, and overwhelming you can hear it, but other than that I'm just so focused. Might not sound believable, but you don't hear a lot. I don't.

Q. Does it bug you that Serena is on the same side of the draw with you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, she's obviously a great player, and if I can play and beat her, then that means I'm on top of the game, right? So I hope we can meet in the semifinals.

Q. Can you tell us about the inspiration for the dress?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I love tie-dye. It's cool to do the tournament colors, too. Just trying to do something different in tennis that hasn't really been done. It's a lot of fun to wear.

Q. You matched the courts a little bit.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, matched the courts. I was coordinating.

Q. Many of your fans, because we don't see the two of you together very often, maybe were hoping that you were going to be playing doubles together. Is it just a situation because it's a ten-day event it's hard for you to play both singles and doubles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not enough time if it rains once. We would love to play here, but not enough time.

Q. Did you realize you're playing tomorrow already?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. I'm amped and ready.

End of FastScripts

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