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February 19, 2010

Venus Williams


6-1, 6-4

Q. Well done. Was that an unusual experience being out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I have to say that I was really focused on the match, really. Focused on trying to win. I really -- that was really my focus of the day.

Q. You started pretty well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely started well, and I felt like I was playing very aggressively and just, you know, basically, taking a lot of time away from her. And then she also made some loose shots, but also, you know, most likely because of my play.
But I think maybe I started to play a little bit too careful or maybe made too many errors. And sometimes when your opponent isn't playing as well as they can when they pick up the level of their game sometimes, you just kind of have to balance it because those same errors aren't coming.
So I definitely had to kind of take a step back and figure out what I was doing, and try to keep up the same as I was doing in the first.

Q. Some players say when they play in small arenas where the crowd is it affects their feeling of what they're doing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I am one of the most non-sensitive players you'll ever meet. I can't hardly tell the differences between courts if they're fast or slow. Nothing bothers me. So, I'm just not really sensitive. I just I hit the ball (smiling).

Q. And what was that like?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Hitting the ball? I've been doing this all my life, so it's an honor. It's a privilege. It's very cheery for me to be able to get out there and hit it, and hit it, you know, to the point where you're winning the match.

Q. And you hadn't even had a hit on that court before then?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I hit there this morning. And I found it favorable. It was nice because the sidelines were like far, so there was no need to worry about whether or not you would have enough room. So it was roomy. I mean, I was okay.

Q. Are you aware of the crowd? I mean, when you're so focused, are you aware that they're all down on one end?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, when you're on the end where you're looking at the crowd, you have to really focus a little more on the ball because the crowd is -- there was something about that stand where it was a little bit visually distracting. But, honestly, once you're in the point I don't see anything except the ball and focus.

Q. So there was a lot of movement, wasn't there? People walking in?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, as the crowd came in and were looking to watch the match, obviously, it got to capacity.

Q. Can I ask what you said to Shahar at the end?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she just said thanks for the support. Obviously, I said great tournament. And she really played so well, beating -- I don't know -- Top 10 players. I think two.
You know, I think the main difference between just playing me and maybe the other players, obviously, maybe my serves and maybe the power and maybe my speed. Those were the differences maybe. But had I not had those things, you know, I could have been another Top 10 player packing too. So she played so well this week.

Q. After what you said last night about you never really had the chance to have that chat, I asked her about it. She said, "How can we do it here? I'm just in this room all the time."
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, now I understand why I didn't see her. I didn't realize at first why I didn't see her. Now I do. I mean, yeah, I know that she was there.

Q. That must be tough to be just couped up in there all the time.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't even speak on what it must be like. You know, I wondered what it would be like playing on the court. How it would feel playing against her. If I would feel the same pressure she might feel. But when I was on the court, honestly, I was so focused on the match. I didn't think about anything else. Just looking across at her, it seemed like she was doing the same thing.
So that's the best part about sport. No matter what is going on off the court, it really gives you the opportunity to laser in your focus and forget everything else. She did an amazing job of doing that.

Q. Pleased to be in the final again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely pleased to be in the final. Every year is so different. This year has been, you know, obviously just as rewarding as last year. Even, you know, to be equally as rewarding, obviously, would be to take the title again.

Q. It's an important title in itself. But is it in some ways also a stepping stone to perhaps further success further down the line in other tournaments this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I see each tournament as individual. And obviously, winning brings confidence. But at the same time I've been playing for so long that I don't judge myself on the wins or the losses, per se. I judge myself in that very moment. What I'm doing on the court at that moment and executing that shot. To do more, would be -- I live in the moment and it's better that way. Obviously, I want to have success, but I don't judge myself on the losses or the wins, per se.

Q. What is the one you'd most like to win this year? Would it be getting Wimbledon back again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know I love Wimbledon. I'm not going to choose because I choose them all, so I'm not going to just choose one. And, obviously, I believe that I can do it, so I just have to execute and in that moment.

Q. Can you talk about your two prospective final opponents, please?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, they've both been playing very well this week. Azarenka's played very clean. I don't know if she lost a set. I've watched every single match of hers. And Agnieszka has played very well in the last match against a red-hot player. She won I don't know how many matches this week. I don't know the number, but five matches in a row.
So, who will win? I don't know. But I'll be waiting in the final.

Q. They're the future though, are they? Do you see them as the future?
VENUS WILLIAMS: They both keep raising the level of their games, trying to add more dimension, great competitors. So as long as they stay healthy and eager and improving their game, I don't see why they shouldn't continue to move up in the ranks and be a huge part of women's tennis in these years to come.

Q. Can I ask you, going back to today's match with Peer just now. You said you're the least sensitive player anyway. But can I still ask you: I mean, walking into the court today and then starting, can you maybe give us a little bit of detail when you said it was a different thing in the beginning? Can you tell us a little bit what felt different about it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't say -- I don't think I said it was different. Going into the match was my normal thing. In warm up, see if her game has changed any from the last time I played her. Of course, I got to serve first, which is always nice. And just focusing on where I'm putting that first serve. How I'm going to play the first game.
I mean, once I was on the court, it was all focus. I was interested to see what the atmosphere was like. I mean, when she was winning points, the crowd was really into it and they wanted her to get into the match and push her to the third. So it was very exciting to see the crowd so very supportive of both of our play.

Q. In Melbourne, did you watch Serena's match against Azarenka?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I saw a little bit. Yeah, not a lot.

End of FastScripts

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