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March 27, 2010

Venus Williams


6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I read somewhere that you had a couple weeks off before the beginning of the tournament. How long does it take before your rust totally disappears?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I actually felt, you know, during the first match. I think I played a really good first set, and then in the second set I got a little impatient. Just kind of going for it a little too soon.
Definitely kind of rectified that in the last two games in the nick of time. I feel like my rust is gone.

Q. As of yesterday you were the only American woman left in the draw. It's been happening more and more often. Does it concern you that when you and Serena finally walk into the sunset there will not be an American Grand Slam champion for years to come?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, thankfully we won't be walking into the sunset too soon. Hopefully that will give some bumper time.
It's just definitely strange because of the unbelievable tradition we've had with tennis for Americans since the beginning. I think that's what makes it so odd. But, I mean, I've got hope.

Q. Do you see any light at the end of the of the tunnel?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, Serena and I, the standard has been set pretty high. Obviously Andre and Pete set the standard high, Courier.
So those are -- those have been tough to emulate. There are a lot of players who are very good, but getting to that level isn't easy for anyone.
So hopefully there will be someone coming along soon with the tools and the traits and who will build that in their game to get there.

Q. Look like you were struggling with your serve. Was it the wind or something else?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It was just a little sunny on the far side. It just kept moving. I was trying to adjust to that, but, yeah.

Q. Do you prefer playing a tournament when Serena is playing, or doesn't matter anymore?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Most of the time we end up playing the same tournaments. She's here, so I'm glad that she's here. It's always better when she is.

Q. 16 trips to the net today. Always love to see you come to the net.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was enjoying it. It just seemed natural. I was just running in. My legs took me there, so I've gotta keep doing that.

Q. We've heard you say that before. Is there still reluctance at times to come to the net? Where does that fit into your game at this point in your career?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so. I think more and more just with maturity and understanding the game more. Just being an all-around better player I think I come to the net more. Especially this year I've just been to the net a lot.
I think it's the motif that will just continue.

Q. Do you like it when you're up there? When you you're up there, you like your chances?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I do. I don't do anything I'm not comfortable with. When I go up there I feel like I can do it.

Q. Besides your ability, is it a way of -- I mean, you've had injuries. You're getting older. Is there a way to speed up the game to take charge faster?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, that's a good way to put it, too. At the end of the day, I do what the play takes. So if the play is at the baseline, I do that. If the play is 20 balls, I do that. If the play is I can come in, I do that.
So just whatever the best play is, I try to do that.

Q. What kind of feedback did you get on the dress?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't -- I mean, everybody really likes it, it seems. I've really just taken a lot more control with the designs, especially this year. Just continue to push the envelope creatively on the court. I mean, I have fun with it, the process.

Q. So the reviews have been favorable?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. It's fun. I mean...

Q. How do you just describe it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My dress, it's really about being fun and sexy at the same time. Just the movement of the dress with the flounce at the end really gives it a lot of movement and a lot of character.
So this dress has a lot of character. It's really fiery, and that's why it's red, too. You know, I never wear red and black together, but it just -- the design really lent itself to that. I'm happy with it.

Q. During your match, Dwyane Wade and Andy Roddick were playing HORSE on the court, and tennis. Trust me, Andy looks a lot better playing basketball than D-Wade looked playing tennis. I know you are a D-Wade. You go to Heat games. Would you have liked to be part of that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Honestly, I'm a terrible basketball player; I cannot play. Mostly because I've never played, so I can't get it in. When I do, it's just unbelievable luck (laughter.)
Thankfully I had a third round to play, so...

Q. Andy had him down 3-1 in HORSE.
VENUS WILLIAMS: You're kidding? I think he just put him in the lead to let Andy have a little confidence.

Q. Sandbagging, you think?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Is that what it's called? I'm not as hip as you guys.

Q. He beat him with a shot from the floor. He went on the floor and banked it in.
VENUS WILLIAMS: You're kidding? Well, he's a pro. Come on.

Q. You've won when you've had long breaks and won when you've played a lot. When you're on a winning streak like this, does it do anything in terms of your confidence or your level or anything at all? You know, the impact, does it impact just the way you're playing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously being on a winning streak helps my confidence every time - anybody. But like you said, I've come from down, up, around, and over.
I still ultimately believe in me and my game. Of course I really enjoy winning as many as I can in a row.

Q. Where do you stand in terms of Fed Cup? Have you pretty much closed the door on that? Left it open?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Why would I close the door?

Q. I don't know. You haven't played in a while.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because the ties have really been so hard. I mean, after the Australian, after Doha last year, I was done. I couldn't play anymore.
So sometimes it's hard, you know, to play like a week in Europe and then a free week and be in Europe six or seven more weeks.
At this stage in my career, I'm not at that stage where I'm gonna do that much. But a tie being in the U.S. like that, that is just a perfect opportunity for me to play. I would say the chances are positive.

Q. So are we going to see you in Birmingham?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I would love to go to Birmingham. I have to tell you that. If I officially go, you'll hear about it.

Q. Have you told Mary Joe you'd like to be a part?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we've talked about it, actually. We talked about the team and everything.

Q. And she was receptive?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I really -- I haven't played under her yet, but I really do like Mary Joe. I'm looking forward to playing under her.
I mean, we always -- I mean, last year we talked even before that tie. I couldn't play because, you know, I couldn't go to Europe for that many weeks.
We always talk about it.

Q. But if she came to you and said, I want you to play in Birmingham, you're available?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we already talked about it. Even before she became captain I told her I'm at a stage in my career where I'm just doing the best thing for my career.
So whatever the schedule is best for me and best for my tennis and well-being and all of that, I do that.
Fed Cup definitely has to fit into, you know, what's best.

Q. It looked like you framed a second serve. I'm just wondering -- everybody is human, of course. You almost laugh out loud. Do you roll your eyes, or what is the reaction?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think about why I went that way.

Q. So what happened there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's timing. My toss, I hit it when it's going up still. So I hit the -- the timing is wrong. So when I hit it while it's going up, that's when that happens.
So it's timing. It's complicated. Tennis is just tough.

Q. It just shows how hard tennis is.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's hard. (laughter.)

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