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June 23, 2009

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/S. Voegele
6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus Williams, please.

Q. Happy with how you started your title defense?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It was pretty straightforward. I really enjoyed being out there. You know, it's a special moment when you walk back as defending champion on that court, throw those balls up for that first point. It's a really great feeling.

Q. Did you have a different sense of what Centre Court was like with the new roof there, wider aperture?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it looks really nice, the roof does, actually. The sun's been shining. We haven't had to use it yet. It's kind of ironic.
But I'm very sure it will get some use.

Q. Yesterday your sister rated you as the grass court player of your generation. Any comments on that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, to get a compliment from Serena like that is top, so I have to say, Thank you, Serena.

Q. What does Wimbledon mean for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, for me it's just been a place of great success, so many wins here, you know, singles and doubles. So it's really just been a place of success and of, you know, pure joy, I guess.

Q. Can you figure out why you do so well on grass? Obviously you won at Flushing Meadows, but you can't quite match the same thing your sister seems to do real well on the hard. Of course, you just dominate here. Have you ever figured that out?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, my answer every time is, Why not? If you pick one slam to win, it's got to be this one. You know, I've always been in the position to win the others and, you know, have been just as far as the finals and ran into a pretty tough player, so was a little bit unlucky.
But overall, you know, I feel like I had the game, and always have the game, to put myself in a position at any of the majors. So I have to just keep on trying.

Q. There's a comfort level having won. Do you go out there and say, Here I am again, time to win?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I wish it was that easy. The way you said it, though, I'll try to do it that way. But, uhm, yeah, a lot of hard work goes into it, playing the right shot at the right time.
But I obviously feel very good here, and I take advantage of that feeling.

Q. You took the nasty tumble there in the first game. What happened there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just slipped. I've seen a few people slipping on the court, too, so I guess it was my turn. I'm glad I got mine over with early.

Q. Did the grass seem slick throughout?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It didn't seem slick. I just slipped. My foot came -- it just slipped, so I got back up and got started again.

Q. You said a couple of players have slipped. Can you give a reason why we are seeing a few more tumbles this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it's grass. You're gonna slip sometimes. And the courts are new. It's just grass.

Q. Does it seem any different from previous times you've been on Centre Court as far as the slippery conditions?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, you know, I've slipped before. So, you know, it didn't feel slippery. But, you know, I was back a little behind the baseline, close to an area that people aren't always in, and I slipped. So I don't know. We'll see what happens.

Q. Did it affect how you played after that moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, 'cause I think I won the game. I didn't hurt myself.

Q. What's the fun part of playing on grass just as an athlete as compared to other surfaces?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've just playing on the grass, I think you have the opportunity to make fantastic shots that are very entertaining and great plays. You know, I think the game is more fast-paced. In a lot of ways, it makes it a lot more exciting, the exchanges.

Q. Considering there's seven matches to play here, it's a two-week tournament, how much stock do you put into a first-round match? Sort of one you want to put in the bag and move on?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't put so much stock into first-round matches - or any round matches, actually. I mean, you really have to start putting stock in it when you lose, figure out why.
But it's just important to get to the next round and regroup and get better from there. So I just bank on that I know how to play tennis and go from there.

Q. Can you tell us anything about your outfit this year. There's been a lot of media attention around the way people are dressing. I was wondering if you felt any pressure on how to look out there, competing in that respect?
VENUS WILLIAMS: There's a lot more pressures to deal with other than the outfit. Got to make sure everything is in, not escaping. It's all good.

Q. When you and Serena came through, I think there was a bit of an expectation there would be a generation of African American girls would become great players. It hasn't happened. Can you suggest why?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't. You know, spending almost a hundred percent of my time on my own development. It's a lifestyle job, so unfortunately I don't know.

Q. Your dad said when you're here, he lets you decide what to work on in practice, whereas at other places, more his decision. What have your decisions been so far as to what to work on here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've been working on a lot of volleys. I definitely want to get to the net, and when I get up there, execute. You know, hitting on the run, that kind of thing.

Q. Can I take you away from the women's game. Do you follow the men's game? Do you have an opinion on how the men play? Do you compare the men and the women?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I watch the matches. When I'm at home I watch a lot of tennis.

Q. Do you root for any men to win?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, not especially. I always root for the champions, though. Yeah, that's who I root for usually.

Q. An American?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, and Americans.

Q. Is there any sort of physical or mental reason why women shouldn't be playing best-of-five sets like the guys?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, you know, is there a reason? You know, a lot of people ask this question, but at the moment the singles is the best two out of three. At the moment that's the way it is.
You know, if we need to further evaluate that, then I'm sure that we will. But at this point, that's the way it is.

Q. What is it in your level of confidence and your approach to matches here, if anything, that differs from all other places?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think that, uhm, having won this title multiple times, you get that sense of what it takes to win. And I definitely have a good grip on that, what it takes to win this title.
I think that's just what it is.

Q. Do you get nervous at any Grand Slam?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, everyone gets nervous. It's just, you know, how you deal with it. You have to deal with it just as you deal with not being nervous hopefully.

Q. Are you conscious of wanting to be remembered as the greatest grass court player ever?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course, when I leave, I want people to say nice things about me. So hopefully they will, whether I play great tennis or not.
So, you know, hopefully it will be based on my contributions to the game on and off the court. That would be the best thing.

End of FastScripts

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