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April 1, 2010

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/M. Bartoli
6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Nice to see you at the net once in a while.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, when I got to come in I was pretty successful. I think maybe I missed one volley. Sometimes you miss.
But, you know, she's had a really good tournament. She was playing consistently, so I expected a lot of defense from her, and also for her to try to take it on the offense when she could. I was happy to combat all of that.

Q. Seems like when she broke you in the first set, 3-2, then she just gave it right back on four double faults and then you took charge. Did you go away a little bit there in the second set mentally and then you have to bring yourself back late in the second set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, well, I mean, obviously tennis is a huge mental game, and you need to be there at all times. At this level, if you make two errors in a row, you can't really do that. It makes it a lot harder.
So if I make two errors and they play two good points, you know, and the same for them. If they do that with me, you know, you lose serve. It can happen quickly.
Most of the time when I lose serve obviously I'm right back and kind of right back on my toes and looking to break and to go even better.

Q. Seems like you can turn it on and off when you want to. It looked like that today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just I like to think of myself as big point player. So when the stakes get a little higher, it feels good to be able to pull a little extra something out.

Q. Seems like the fans got what they wanted: you in the final. Can you talk about playing here and the fans and how they seem to love you here. Does that help you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I always enjoy playing here. I've always had really good results. Usually gone pretty deep. Really pleased to be back in the final.
It's just really nice to have all the support. I have so many friends and family here, and they're all super-excited to come out and see me. So it's nice.

Q. What's it is like having your sister sitting right there with that bright red dress she had on texting you as you're playing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think texting is allowed, at least not to me. I enjoy having her out there right on the sidelines. The whole time she is so supportive saying, You can do it. That is really all you need at this level, is your team and family being behind you and being supportive and positive.

Q. How, if at all, is your game different than five years ago? Seems like you're here in the finals every year, or one Williams is.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, holding the Williams flag still, the big W.
So five years ago, gosh, I don't know. I mean, in essence I'm still the same player, but I just think that I understand the game more. If anything, I understand the game more and how to play the point better and situations.
I think when you're younger you just kind of go through it, especially someone with a game like mine. But I guess sometimes you take more chances sometimes for the best and sometimes not for the best.
I guess at this point, I feel like I'm at that balance of knowing when to hit which shot.

Q. That was a nice impersonation of Bartoli's footwork at the net after the match. Was that spur of the moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no, I just bounce like that when I'm really excited.

Q. That looked like a new move.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I been bouncing like that since '97. (Laughter.)

Q. I haven't seen that one before.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, go back to those tapes.

Q. That wasn't in honor of her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no, I just kind of bounce like that when I'm excited.

Q. Do you watch her do those nonstop bouncings [sic] and swings and kicks?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I mean, I see it, but I'm just not thinking about -- I'm thinking about my game.
It works for her. I don't see anything wrong with it.

Q. The second set somebody mentioned how well you did. I think you were 8 for 8 at the net in the second set. Did that kind of spur you on also, the more you did it the more you wanted to do it? How do you think that changed the whole match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was just trying to play the ball. You know, at the second set, I guess at, 4-All I definitely was thinking about moving forward a little more.
I get to get in a couple times, but hopefully it makes a difference. And it's just the mentally of thinking of moving forward tends to just make a little bit more aggressively, or at least makes me play a little more aggressively.

Q. In the finals, I know you could go Clijsters or Henin. Pick one. I was looking at the head-to-heads, and it looks like you lost the last three times to Clijsters and the last time to Henin. Is there anybody you prefer to play, or can you talk about each and what it would be like to play them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, I mean, both of them are playing very well. Just both very experienced and accomplished players. What more can I say?
My main goal is to obviously execute my game. That's pretty much it. So I don't necessarily get so focused on who's a cross the net. I'm really focused on, you know, the task at hand with me when I get a chance to hit the ball.

Q. You always seem to play well here and get deep into the tournament. It is an important tournament. Is it disappointing that it's been nine years since you've been in a final here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've tried to get to the final. Didn't always work out. Ran into a player that played better than me that day.
So obviously I'm really happy to be back in this final, and obviously I want to take it a step further.

Q. I know you had whatever your injuries were last year, but you seem to be moving extremely well this year. Do you ever wonder if age would start creeping up on you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think I can get a little faster. I haven't had a ton of time where I've been feeling great on my knees.
In that little bit of time I've been moving better. I think just from here I'll start moving better.
That's always been one of my strengths. As I've felt better, I'm getting more dangerous on the run.

Q. Is the bandage precautionary?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's precautionary. I had to start the tournament out with it and I've been feeling good with it, so why stop -- what do you call that? What am I looking for, that phrase?

Q. Why fix it if it ain't broke?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Why fix it if it ain't broke.

Q. Do you feel your toughest competitor is sitting in the photographers' pit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena Williams is an extremely tough competitor. We play so similar. In a way, it's almost like playing against yourself. So that's never easy, facing yourself.

Q. Obviously you've changed a lot, but what about tennis has changed the most since you first came here in 1994? Dresses?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Right. My word, obviously the dresses, people out there are wearing red and black. Of course that type things.
I mean, obviously with the women's game the speed has gotten so much harder. Back when I first started, I was the only one hitting a big serve and running super-fast.
Now everyone is moving well and serving big and they have this fierce determination that just wasn't there when I first got on tour. Everybody thinks they can win the match.
Just from me, when I was at home watching, it seemed like the top player, once they got up 3-Love, the match was over, and that's not the case anymore. Once you get up to 3-Love, you have to be careful that it's not 3-All in a couple moments.

Q. What's the story with the dress? It's very different from a traditional tennis dress.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just continually borrowing things from ready-to-wear. Just continuing to have fun with design on the court.
And as you can see with my game and my life, I like to be innovative. That's what design is all about. It's not about recreating, it's about doing something different.

Q. I believe -- I hope I'm right -- if you win this tournament you move up this the rankings.

Q. How important is that to you, the rankings and the big picture? What's the most important thing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to win. I like to go fast.

End of FastScripts

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