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March 29, 2010

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/D. Hantuchova
1-6, 7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You last played her in 2007, and although you have a 9-0 record against her, it's been a while. Was there something different about her game today, or was it the conditions?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she played really well. I haven't seen her play so well in a long time, so I think she was really executing her game. Conversely, I was a little bit off and struggling to find the court and everything else.
You know, days like this you just have to figure out a way to win the point, even if it's not pretty. So I enjoy that battle.
Of course, I'd like to win more straightforward, but when it counts and times get tough, I always feel confident that I'm gonna find a way to win the point.

Q. Tell us about the final game. It's like you decided no more messing around. That was a pretty emphatic last game.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd like to play every game like that. Like I said, when things get close, I'm gonna find a little extra something in myself.
I just wanted to obviously play better, and it was a perfect game and ended that way.

Q. Between the first and second sets, you said the first set you couldn't really find the court and everything else. What do you tell yourself in between sets where you're just kind of sitting there, kind of staring blankly, looks like? But what are you telling yourself to get back on track as quickly as you can?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm thinking, I'm gonna come out even more aggressive. On a day like today, I'm just trying to find the balance of really working the point and playing aggressively and seeing what's gonna really work for me on a day like this.
So, you know, I enjoy obviously that I won, but I enjoy getting through a day where the conditions are good and the opponent is playing great, and, you know, maybe I wasn't finding the court the way I wanted to.

Q. So rather than just pulling back a little bit and trying to make sure you find the court, you just go harder; is that kind of the game plan?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's a combination of both. Obviously at 5-All I was going pretty hard.
I enjoy those moments.

Q. What's the mental challenge of playing somebody you've beaten nine times without a loss? What's that like?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously I think for her I think the motivation is even greater to get that win and to try something different and just to go all out.
So I think it's a little bit more on that end, because obviously I'm feeling confident with my record against her.
I imagine it's just more from her. Just, you know, let's go for broke.

Q. I notice that you don't call for on-court coaching. Do you enjoy trying to figure out the puzzle on your own?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've called before. It's been a while. I like being on the court alone. I enjoy that. I'm not a player that looks at my box every point. I look inside myself, because I feel like I have the answer.
And all I need is my box to say, Go, go. You can do it. That's enough.

Q. When the coach did come down, he was basically telling her you come up big in these moments, and she kind of has to match what you can do. Could you hear any of that at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it was too far away. Obviously he's speaking in a tone that I couldn't hear.
But that's some tough advice. Very true, I guess, but that's tough.

Q. Do you feel like you intimidate people even at this stage of your career when you've done it for so long? That you intimidate the opponent sometimes as far as in your ability to come up big in those segments?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd like to think so. I'd like to think that on those kind of positions my opponent is gonna know that I'm gonna be trying for more and really believing that I can execute on that point.
That's what it all comes down to. That's what I train for, are those moments and coming through them.

Q. What does this match bode for the rest of the tournament for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, this match got me to the quarterfinals, so I need to get to the next match and get that match to the next one.
So it's just all about playing well in the moments. Of course, I want straightforward wins, but if they don't happen, to figure out how to win, that's good enough.

Q. I think it was like the next to last game where you broke her to win. Your serve was clocked between 115 and 119 every serve, and your groundstrokes - that they don't clock - they weren't far behind. That was when you really started to up your playing ability. Was there something specific that happened?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My game is naturally aggressive, so if anything, my game is -- what I have to tell myself is sometimes, you know, work the point harder instead of be aggressive right off the bat. Maybe try for a shot that doesn't make as much sense.
So of course when times get tougher, I just go -- I hit harder. It's just me. It's natural for me, so...

Q. Were you surprised that she could match your groundstrokes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She was playing well. She was playing really well and giving it 100% effort. When I hit it hard she got it back; when I hit it high she got it back.
So just a real testimony to how well she was playing today.

Q. How did you spend the rain delay?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just relaxing. I'm glad that I got my match in today, though. So that's the good news.

End of FastScripts

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