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February 18, 2010

Venus Williams


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

Q. It wasn't an easy game, was it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she plays so competitively. She came out with a really good game plan, just tried to play aggressively and take control of the point. And she was taking the balls as early as she could to try to force the issue. Just, you know, going even for her second serve, like a first serve. So she really played really well. But, you know, I was glad to win the important points.

Q. Is she a player you could see going on to bigger and better things?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, that's the best part about tennis is anything's possible. And she's obviously very talented. It's all up to her.

Q. Did you feel when you broke back from 3-All, that you had the more consistent game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: On the first set?

Q. Uh-huh.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know what I was thinking (laughing). Just focused on the target at that point. I had a little momentum, and the early break she played well. And I felt like I played a good game in that early break coming forward and she just got some shots.
So I just needed to continue with what I was doing. You know, I had a good run of games there, so that definitely changed the momentum.

Q. Getting frustrating a bit at the end? You don't normally need that many match points.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, normally I don't need that many match points and I missed some easy shots, which I was a little bit like, Wow. But that's tennis. It's not over until you win that last point. You know, I was thinking that out there. I was like this is tennis. This is what makes it exciting.
But, you know, the bigger the sticks, the more I go for. I just kept hitting harder and harder on my serve. Not even by choice, it just goes. I think that helped a lot, the pressure from the first serve.

Q. You probably know you have to play Shahar on an outside court. Do you have any thoughts about what that might be like for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm just focused on the semifinal, focused on executing my game. That's really my focus right now.

Q. And the ambience of the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know if I've played on it. I've practiced on there before, but I haven't played a match out there before.

Q. Do you think that might give her an advantage? She's been playing on that kind of court the whole week.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I don't think of it that way, really. But I'm just obviously banking on my experience as a player all these years. Obviously, I played her a few times before, so hopefully my experiences playing her will help me too.

Q. Last year the support you showed her, it must be rather special to play her this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's definitely, you know, that's life, how things turn out. I'm actually really looking forward to both of us really playing in our top level.

Q. You were presented with an award by the Jewish community, weren't you? Was it in New York?

Q. What do you remember about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I remember wishing my mom and dad were there. When I realized, you know, what it was going to be like afterwards and I was like, I want mom and dad to see me.
But it was great. The ADL, they do so many great things. It was just, you know, an honor. I don't think any of us need to be honored more than normal, so I felt just honored to be there.

Q. What you said after the final last year, was that spontaneous? Was it planned?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, just spontaneous. When it comes to speeches, I'm not a planner. Even if I'm like giving the speech, I just have bullet points. To be honest, I was really just focused on the final. At that point when I was in the final, I felt like I'm just basically focused on the tennis and then afterwards was everything else.

Q. Did you realize at the time you're saying things that would be remembered for a long time to come?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. Just living in the moment. That wasn't even the purpose. It was just about that moment and trying to just give support to players and the tour and to Shahar.

Q. Just looking ahead to tomorrow's match. What do you think of the decision to play the match on that court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. What do you think of it?

Q. I think it's strange to play such a big semifinal on such a small court.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, before I would even comment on that, I would have to talk to the tournament and tournament directors to make an educated comment. I haven't done that.

Q. It's clearly a security issue.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm just going to refrain. I would want to make an educated comment.

Q. You've obviously played outside at Wimbledon on the Graveyard and things like that. But when is the last time you played a competitive match on a smaller court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Believe me, they're all competitive. If you don't bring your best game, goodbye.

Q. When did you last play on a really minor court like that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. It's been a few years?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously, in Miami sometimes I play on Grandstand or Court 1. Probably the last time.

Q. But they're still show courts, aren't they?

Q. Are you disappointed to be on the side court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: How I feel about it is I think whatever is best for everyone. If this is the best decision, then I support that.

Q. What were you thinking when you started saving all those match points?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, honestly, I was thinking it's a lot of pressure to have to save that many match points. I felt like I just needed to keep giving myself opportunities to close it out. Especially on my serve, I felt good about being able to close out a match.
The game before, she played aggressively and hit a few winners, and, you know, credit to her. But I felt like I could do more, and I did and I'm glad.

Q. You said the other day that you hadn't really seen Shahar to talk to here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I haven't seen her once.

Q. Have you had much dialogue in the course of the last year about what you said and what happened?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, like I said. It seems like of all the players, I see her the least amount. Whenever I do see her it's like right before her match or my match. So it's always at like the wrong time. I know, it's just like, okay, you know what? Let's just go to dinner or something.

Q. So you've never really had an opportunity to sit down with her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. Not sit down and a long chat. I don't know -- I mean, we just respect each other as players and everything, and I think that's good enough for both of us. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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