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June 21, 2009

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Great pleasure of introducing or current reigning women's Wimbledon champion, Venus Williams. Who would like to ask the first question?

Q. What did it mean to you to defeat your sister in the final last year after having lost to her in two previous finals?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we had some close matches in those other finals, and, I mean, last year was a close match. I was very happy to close it out in two.
It's hard to beat such a tough competitor. She was playing well last year. She was playing great in the final. Before I knew it, I came out on top.

Q. Why is this your best Grand Slam event?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, everyone asks that. My answer is, Why not?

Q. Is there a different feeling you get when you come here comparing it to other tournaments?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, in previous years I have had just a great feeling at this tournament. And, uhm, I'm looking forward to having that feeling again.

Q. How much have you been playing on grass?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just a normal amount as every other year that I come here. So just grinding it out on the grass.

Q. That's back home in Florida?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I hit on hard courts in Florida.

Q. So you feel like you don't need much preparation on grass really?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I prepared the same way every year, and this year has been the same.

Q. Do you feel once you get here, no matter what's happened prior to that, you are the person to beat at Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, thank you. That's a nice compliment, if that's what you were giving me. I like that idea very much, actually. Thank you.

Q. But is that how you feel?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, you know, not necessarily. I just put my best foot forward the best that I can. And, you know, yeah.

Q. Does something overtake you when you walk onto Centre Court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Everybody wants to know the secret. There is no secret. Just hard work, doing the right thing at the right moment and making it happen. That's all I can say.

Q. But do you feel that it will happen when you step on that plot of grass?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I definitely want it to. Sometimes I have, and other times just felt focused. There's always different feelings when you go on the court. Just harnessing them.

Q. How would you describe the way the game plays on grass and how that benefits you, in particular?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You're rewarded for playing aggressively, and that's definitely how I play: aggressively. I have lots of rewards.

Q. Do you have any information about the game of your first opponent tomorrow?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think I play tomorrow, do I?

Q. Tuesday.
You know, I just -- you know, I've seen a lot of players play and played a lot of players. What I know most importantly is the only thing I can control is what's on my side of the net, so that's what I try to do best.

Q. So you mean that you play your game, and it doesn't depend of who is on the other side of the net?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I play my game and I hit the best shot I can. I can't control what they get back, if they get to it, or if they hit a better shot. You know, I just play my side.

Q. The cast changes around you and you're here, the central figure. Do you ever think about, I wonder what happened to so-and-so? Wonder what happened to her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Serena and I, we often talk about that. Wonder what happened to them. We're still here and we're not leaving, so...
It's been a real blessing to have the success that we've had and to be able to be still playing great tennis at this point, you know, obviously with the outlook of still playing great tennis for years to come.
I don't see anything changing for a while.

Q. There's so many traditions here that are unique to Wimbledon. Which is your favorite?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, my gosh. I suppose returning as the champion on that set day as a favorite, you know, for the next 50 weeks or so, you know, what day you're playing. There's no mystery to it. It's a real honor. I love that.

Q. How would you describe that sensation on Tuesday when you're here again and you walk onto the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: When you walk on the court, it's all business. There's no moments to enjoy until you have the win. You know, that's how it is in sports. You focus, focus, focus, and then when it's done, you enjoy it.

Q. You've almost owned this event, as Roger Federer has on the men's side for most of the time he's played it. What have you seen in the way he plays here and in general as he approaches the possibility of being the all-time majors record holder on the men's side?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What was the question?

Q. What have you seen and been impressed with the most as he approaches this possible record?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, just his confidence on the court is amazing. There's a million things that he does great that any player can learn from - me included. So he does a lot of great things.

Q. What are some of the examples? What do you see and appreciate most when you watch him play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He has a great serve. Gets him out of trouble at all times. The second serve. His footwork. I think, most importantly, his mental game is so solid.

Q. Do you remember the first time you stepped on a grass court? Did it come easily right then? What were your impressions the first time you tried playing on grass?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I remember the first time I played on grass, I think I just wanted to dive. That was the highlight, I guess, trying to dive. I don't remember if I did or not.
But when you grow up, you see all the players diving, and you think, I want a part of that. So that's the first thing you want when you're little.

Q. Do you see yourself still coming to Wimbledon in your 30s?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm gonna be 30 next year. Why not?

Q. In your mid-30s then.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I want to play the Olympics here. It's really not that far off. It's just, what, three years. So I definitely would love to be playing the Olympics here and representing, going for more golds. It's my favorite.

Q. Your thoughts on the roof, what the stadium looks like with the added addition and stuff?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, update; don't be late. That's my motto. So I think the roof is good. No one's played under it who is playing pro right now, so I guess we have to see how it plays.
But I don't anticipate anything being, you know -- I anticipate it being well.

Q. Which player do you think is best positioned to challenge your title this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I honestly don't think that way. I've been preparing, preparing my game. Then whoever I might play is the player that's challenging me that day is how I see it.
So just whatever comes.

Q. Where was that grass court? And did you take a dive?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that grass court was at Green Leaf, back in the day, in Haines City, and I don't know if I took a dive. But hopefully I did (laughter). Or I could make up a better story (smiling).

Q. Do you have a set routine that you follow the last sort of half hour before you go out?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm not superstitious. I just get on the court.

Q. I know you're very interested in fashion. Could you give us any idea of what you might be wearing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, yeah, all white with a little bit of strappy things happening (smiling).

Q. What was your reaction when you heard that Rafael Nadal would not be defending his title?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, it's bad luck. But, uhm, you know, he's young, definitely has the will, so I imagine he'll be back. But it's just bad luck.
He has some time off. If I was him, I'd enjoy that time off and make something of it, try something new, just get ready for the Open.

Q. Does any particular shot stand out? Perhaps that match point against Davenport?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, back in the time. Those were scary points. I got through it with help from everyone in the box. I looked up and they all said I could do it, and I thought, Yes, I can.
That's what makes moments, tournaments like that special and championships like that special, are those moments.

Q. Are you going to be visiting any burger bars?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Burger bars?

Q. McDonald's.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, after, after.

Q. You've had some tough matches en route to some of your titles here. When you get into that situation, is this the place where you feel most able to turn it around, that you're not as nervous about losing those matches?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Honestly, every match is different, and just finding a way to get through it is the most important thing of it all. And living another day to improve the game and work on it.
So I can't tell you. It took a little something different every time to get through those matches.

Q. In terms of history here at Wimbledon, there's only Billie Jean, Steffi and Martina ahead of you. How important is the sense of history at Wimbledon, your place in that history?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, it's fantastic to look up and see a good number by your name, and it equals the Wimbledons. It's great to be a part of history. I already am.
If I can step it up a notch, it will be even more of an honor. But I guess it will mean more and more every year, when it's all said and done.

Q. Do you think you can match Martina's record here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that's what everyone says. But, uhm, she had a great achievement, and it's amazing. I have my own great achievements. Not really trying to tie her or compare myself to her or anything like that.
Yeah, that's all it is.

Q. Why do you think your game has translated better here to the grass at Wimbledon than Serena's? You've had by far more success here than she has.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, maybe I play a little bit more aggressively on the surface. Maybe that helps. Uhm, maybe I serve a little bit harder. There's no secret, 'cause she serves big, too, and plays aggressive, daring tennis.
So it's just been mine is just all I can say.

Q. How often do you get to practice with each other?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, almost every day. Just depends on what our goals are that day. So it varies.

Q. Are you staying together here?

End of FastScripts

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