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April 21, 2013

Mary Joe Fernandez

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/J. Larsson
6‑3, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ Congratulations.テつ Venus, talk a little bit about that last game and those eight match points.テつ What were you thinking as they were going by?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ You know, I wasn't keeping track.テつ I was just trying to stay focused on getting the win for the U.S.
Obviously to close out there would have been ideal.テつ The game was very competitive and we were both going for the lines and missing them closely.
It was just about winning those last two points.

Q.テつ When did you find out you would be playing instead of Sloane?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Well, like I said out there, we all have to be ready to play.テつ I was ready all week.

Q.テつ Mary Joe, maybe you can fill us in.テつ When did you know?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:テつ You know, I think at the beginning of the week I told you guys I make my decisions last minute.テつ I really wait.
It's a good thing, because that means I have a lot of options.テつ All four players were ready to play any match, any order, anything.
So that was like the greatest thing.テつ The hardest thing was trying to decide when to play which one.
So literally, you know, after warmup today.テつ So I was watching everybody warm up, saw how everybody was feeling.テつ Our team is a bit banged up, so I had to take that into consideration.
At the end of the day, experience just goes a long way.テつ Venus has been there so many times before.テつ To have her in that clinching match for me was really important.

Q.テつ Venus, how did it feel being out there playing Fed Cup singles again?テつ It's been a while.テつ As far as we can tell, it's the first time you've ever clinched a tie.
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Oh, really, wow.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:テつ You didn't tell me that.テつ No.
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ I lied.テつ (Laughter.)テつ I played a lot of World TeamTennis lately, so that helps a lot.テつ It's a different kind of pressure being on a team.テつ When you're on a team, you just want to do more.テつ Sometimes that can be a lot more pressure.
To be honest, I wanted to be out there.テつ I told Mary Joe yesterday I feel good, I feel positive.テつ I pumped myself up and I wanted to be there for the team.

Q.テつ Mary Joe, is it kind of a downer that this was the playoff so the Fed Cup year is now over for the team?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:テつ It is a little bit.テつ We were talking about it.テつ We have to wait ten months to play again.テつ That's the hardest thing about Fed Cup and even Davis Cup, the scheduling and how long it takes between the ties.
Because you do, you start building a chemistry with the team and a lot bonding and you push each other, and it's fun.テつ We don't get that very often.
But, you know, we're still going to be watching each other, supporting each other, pushing each other, and we'll regroup February of next year.

Q.テつ Venus, how relieved were you that this was over in two?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, definitely relieved.テつ I needed it to be over in two.テつ Mary Joe needed it to be over in two.テつ She was having a heart attack on the sidelines.
It just feels good.テつ Like I said, lots more pressure playing for a team.テつ I know I'm playing for the U.S., and it's not just Venus out there.テつ I can accept more disappointment than I can for ‑‑ you know, representing my country.
Definitely more of a sense of urgency to close it out in two because of that.

Q.テつ Mary Joe, what was Sloane's reaction when you told her she wasn't going to play this match?テつ Do you worry at all about her confidence being a young player going forward?
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:テつ No, not at all.テつ I have to say is great team members this week.テつ They all knew that they could all play and they could all support or play doubles.
So they were all ready for every thing.テつ Everybody this morning was ready to play.テつ First thing Sloane said was, Let me go get my dry pants and become the loudest cheerleader.テつ That's what you want in a team.テつ You want everybody to have that role of doing whatever's need to do win.
I was proud of her and the way she kept it together yesterday.テつ She's finding her way back with her confidence.テつ Sometimes it takes a little time.テつ She fought and she stayed as positive as she could.
Now everybody goes over to the clay court.テつ I think we're going to see Sloane doing well real soon.

Q.テつ Venus, if you wouldn't mind looking ahead to the French Open and the clay season, tell us what you're going to play.テつ I know for Serena Paris is a second home and she has a place there and stuff.テつ How do you see it for yourself and maybe for Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, for us, you know, we have a lot experience that we take on the court that helps.
I'm just playing in Paris ‑‑ I'm sorry, Madrid and Rome.テつ Until that time I'll see where I am in my fitness and that'll be about it.
CAPTAIN FERNANDEZ:テつ Thank you.テつ Thanks for coming.

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