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September 7, 2010

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/F. Schiavone
7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you have a match like the Querrey match before you and it takes four and a half hours - you're expected to go on at 3:00 and you go on at 5:00 - you're sitting around for all those hours, what goes through your head? How do you keep yourself pumped up in the pregame?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm a pro at waiting for my match. Singles, doubles, you name it, I've waited. I've waited for rain delays. That's a part of tennis. You know, there is no certain time that the match before you will end, especially like a match like that.
So you have to expect that maybe it will go long. I'm a pretty laid-back person, so I don't get too tight waiting.

Q. Do you do anything in particular while waiting?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just relax and hopefully be ready. Sometimes a match can go really quick. You know, in five minutes it's 5-love. I'm like, Whoa, I'm not ready.
So just try and watch the scores and be ready at the right time.

Q. Francesca was just talking about the windy conditions. She comes into this match playing very, very high-quality tennis and you dispatch of her in two straight sets. She was particularly complimentary of your serve today. If you could reflect back on the match and tell me what you think.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was -- I mean, when I walked out there, I couldn't even warm up my serve because the wind was blowing my toss. I thought, Oh, my god, what are we in for today? I'm a strong player and I hit hard, but I felt like I had nothing. I felt like I was just hitting against...
So it was challenging. I don't think either of us were able to play our exact normal game because it was just hard to make a choice in the wind. I think you end up playing a little safer, more toward the center of the court.
But I feel like when the stakes were higher I was able to raise my game. She did, too. She played some great points. She's just so feisty that you have to kind of keep her at bay.
So I was glad I was able to do that.

Q. She said in her press conference that you don't like playing her. I don't know how she garners that, but that's what she said.

Q. She said the reason was she pushes you to the wall; she shows you a lot of things that other girls don't; is that true? Do you not like playing her? Does she present certain challenges to you that, you know, that stand out?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I like seeing my name next to her name. I'm good with that.

Q. You're 7-0 against her.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. (Laughing.)

Q. I pointed that out, too. You come in, you're 7-0 against her over the years. You come into the match, and she was playing very strong tennis in this tournament and obviously earlier in the summer.

Q. What were your thoughts coming into the match facing her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I've played her for so many years. There have been times when she's had me down, but fortunately I was able to come back. I think, you know, when your record against a player isn't that great you have to keep positive, and, you know, do whatever it takes to get out there and play a good match.
She does that every time. I know when I play her I'm gonna have to play good tennis. I really do enjoy our matchups, obviously, because I usually come out on top. But I enjoy it.

Q. Can you compare the strength of this field in comparison to maybe past Opens?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Every Open is different. All I can think about is the one right now. I mean, there have been times where I've played players who were out of the top 200 and they played unbelievable and I had to find a way to win.
It just depends on the day.

Q. You and Sam Querrey, the last two American singles players, you're both back-to-back on the same court. He didn't escape; you are going on. Do you have any comments about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was tough out there. Like the wind, you could see that both of them were just, you know, just trying to make a good play. It wasn't easy.
So it's never easy when you have such a big match. You know, kind of your first time in this kind of big situation and the conditions are crazy.
But it looked like he set himself up for a lot of opportunities, and that's a good sign. When you set yourself up for those opportunities, you're like, Okay, I know I can get there, and now know that I need to take that next step to get across the line.
So that's good for him.

Q. You've been here before, obviously, but do you feel any responsibility? They were asking him, you know, like I'm carrying America's hope now that you're the last one?
VENUS WILLIAMS: If I felt like that, I don't think I'd be able to even raise my arms. (Laughter.)
Thankfully I don't feel that way. I think my expectations are enough to deal with, so I'm just gonna hopefully temper that and just keep that intact.

Q. What were you doing while you were waiting?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just hang out, watch the score, eat. Nothing worthwhile, I guess.

Q. Kim just won the first set. If she does happen to go on and win the match, are you looking forward to playing her, defending champ? Can you assess that match a little?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we had a great match last year. It was really close. I'm sure that match made a big difference for her, because she went on to win the title.
If she wins, I'm sure we'll have another really good matchup. I'd like to kind of flip the way it turns out.

Q. What are the tactics involved when you play Kim?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Win the point. (Laughter.)
You know, basically just go out there and, as I always do, try to execute my game and win the point, win the set.

Q. What are your observations of Kim as a player and a person?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, obviously great competitor; she plays her best tennis, it seems, at this tournament. I'm sure it's a place she feels really comfortable.
I mean, I don't really know her that well as a person. I kind of see her around, and she always seems pretty pleasant.

Q. What are her unique attributes on the court? What makes her different from other players?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just the ability to compete. I think in coming back from her layoff, I think she never lost that. Obviously she's a very good athlete.
When you're a really, really incredible athlete, it really takes your game to another level. So definitely it takes some special kind of God-given talent.

Q. You're now one match victory away from getting back to the US Open final for the first time since 2002. What would it mean to you to get back to that stage?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I want to be in the final, because then obviously it's just one more step. But I'm just focused on the semis, and I don't get too excited unless the tournament is over, so... (Smiling.)
At this point I'm focusing on the semifinals.

Q. Considering your success earlier in your career here on this court, are you surprised it's been this long since you've won?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've always played, you know, I think pretty well here. Unfortunately I even missed a couple years here, so I'm sure that didn't help my cause.
Other than that I feel really comfortable here, and it's great to come back to a place where I have won and a place where I've played well. Obviously in '97, you know, my first big tournament.
So all in all, I feel positive.

Q. The first set was very close, and the last set just wasn't as close. What do you think you did differently between the start of the match to the end of the match that allowed you to excel so well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I just started finding a little bit better rhythm in the second set. It's not easy to find a rhythm in that kind of weather, but I was trying. Just trying to get on top of it.
And, you know, at the end it still was a break to win the match. But, you know, sometimes she was like shanking, too, and it would just go in. It was like, Will one of these please go out?
It just shows the quality. Like she could still not hit in the middle of the racquet and still make a play. So it was good.

Q. How has your knee been? You talked about it earlier. Your dad said he was a little worried. How's your knee?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm okay. No complaints. I'm in the tournament. I can't complain. You know, I never do, so I'm okay.

Q. So physically you're okay? You had issues at some point, like getting back. So your condition is pretty much better, physically 100%?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, I think as an athlete you learn how to -- everybody's injured, basically, so it's not just me. (Smiling.) You learn how to deal with that and how to maintain yourself, how do deal with certain levels of pain.
You figure it out. As athletes, we're tough. Unless we can't walk, we come on the court. (Laughter.)

Q. How much of that played into this game that just happened with Schiavone? I know you said she always gives you a good fight that other girls don't. How much of that physically did it affect you? And Mentally how do you get into the next match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Did what affect me?

Q. Did it give you a chance physically saying, you know what, despite her competitiveness, I'm walking, physically I'm good?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it's good to have two days to work on my game and to recover and get ready for the Friday, which will be a great day. You know, like I said, no complaints.

Q. A lot of people talk about how you don't see 14 year olds or 16 year olds play at the top of the game in women's tennis these days or the last couple of years. What would you attribute that to?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know if 14 year olds are allowed to play, are they, if they get a wildcard in the majors, I think? So there's a lot more limits.
You know, it's not easy to be a female. I mean, it's not a walk in the park. It doesn't happen every day. So, yeah.

Q. If Sam was to turn this match around and you're playing her, look ahead to that possibility.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I played her in Madrid I think last. We haven't played a ton in our career - maybe a couple times in doubles - but she played really, really well, and I felt like she just brought everything at me and was just hitting the ball a ton.
So if I do play her against, maybe I'll expect her to just come at me again.

End of FastScripts

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