Venus Williams Inteview - French Open, May 25

Posted on May 25, 2009

Venus Williams Interview
French Open, May 25

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. First round of a Slam is never easy. How are you feeling today on the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's always exciting the firstround. Obviously I'm happy to win andplay well in the first set and also in the third. I'm definitely a third set player. Once I get to the third set, I'm like, youknow, I feel a new level coming. So it'sgood for me.

Q. I don't know if you noticed that Mattek was shaking her hand in thefirst couple of games in the first set. Do you feel she was hampered by her wrist?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think she was hampered by herwrist. I don't know what her injury was,but I don't think she was hampered.

Q. I spoke quickly with your dad at the end of the match. He said you gave away the second set. Would you agree with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, it's never easy to win everypoint. I try. I'll just keep trying.

Q. I read that you're staying with Serena and you got the biggerbedroom. How did that work out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Every time I go, she comes in my room and opens the closet and says,look at all this closet space. She's silly,though. I'm just happy that she lets mestay for free.

Q. Not a large U.S.contingent here, but to see someone, you know, make it all the way to the finalor win here. Is it a question overquality over quantity?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as American tennis?

Q. Yeah.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we don't have a lot of players, but wedo have good players. Serena and Iobviously and, I think Bethanie played well today, and we're in the Fed Cupfinal, so we do have some good things going for us. It would be exciting to see some more, youknow, champions on the horizon, but we just have to hang in there.

Q. Are you getting used to seeing smaller and smaller contingents at thesemajors?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I know there used to be so many more. I'm still hopeful. I think everyone is.

Q. Speaking of Fed Cup, are you going to play in the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really want to. I really want to. I haven't confirmed yet. If I do confirm, I'll be there once I give myword. I keep it. So I just want to make sure it's something Ican do.

Q. Has Mary Joe used any special tactics to attract you and Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's just such a nice person and makes youwant to play for her, so that in itself is enough.

We both really want toplay, but once we give our word we want to keep it. It's just important for us to make sure it'ssomething we can do. Being at the end ofthe season is tough, and we both obviously expect to be playing in thechampionships, too. By that time, it'seven tougher. I mean, we hope to qualifyfor the doubles championships, too, actually.

Q. But what would prevent you from playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just if it wasn't a good decision for mewould be ‑‑ or I was injured. Butyou can't predict if you're going to be injured at that time. It would be, you know, obviously, a choice atthat time. I'm not anticipating beinginjured.

Q. As a player and just also as a representative of the tour, Maria is backfor the first time in a while in a slam. What does that mean to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, as a player, I'm more or less focusedon what I'm doing. I hope that she'shappy and healthy. That, I can say forsure. I haven't really thought about ita lot. I've got a lot going on on myside of the court to stay focused on.

Q. As a member of the tour leadership, what does it mean to have a playerof her stature back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it's always good. That's just a no‑brainer.

Q. While playing today, were you bothered a bit by the wind and were youalso surprised by the sunny weather as opposed to last year's rainy days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Last year was cold. You have to be ready for anything here. I just try to take my time when it's windyand not rush. I just play with theconditions, because my opponent is also playing with the conditions. Not take it too much to heart.

Q. How big is it for you winning here? If you had to pick between winning this or going now to Wimbledon, your home and winning that again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: People love to ask that question.

Q. Yeah, I know. I'm British, I haveto.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would pick both. Why do I have to pick one? I want it all. I have to work for it, though.

Q. You've been very active in WTA matters recently. Do you have a favorite for the new executivedirector position?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, whoever is best for the job. It would be ‑‑ I don't even know howmuch I should be talking about, but I'm confident we'll find someone good forthe job and that we will. I think what'smost important is we have a really good business structure right now that'sworking, and solid product. So that'sthe most important thing. The wayeverything is set up now, it would be, you know.

It's not easy but it'sa thousand times easier to come in and keep having the success than five or sixyears ago.

Q. What do you think the best trait would be in the new executivedirector? What quality or two would...

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just gotta be a leader, real leader. Helps if you're a visionary. Obviously get your staff behind youmotivated.

Q. Knowledge of tennis important or not really?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's important. I've never done the job, but apparently it'skind of like tough, so it's important to understand tennis.

Q. What do you know about your next opponent. Safarova?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We played in Rome a few weeks ago, so we've playedrecently. She's a good player. I expect her to play well andaggressively. You know, I'm aggressive,too, so I'll do the same thing.

Q. You've had success here but not great success in the last fewyears. Is it a question ofmovement? Is it feeling like you don'thave the grip on the court you need to sort of do what you want with the ball? What's the issue for you, would you say, withclay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It just didn't happen for me. There's no excuses. Gotta play well every match. If you're not playing well, find a way,still, to win. It's as simple as that.

Q. Sort of related to that, looked like your will really kicked in at thebeginning of the third set today. Isthat right? And how much is goingfarther than you've gone in recent years a matter of will?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It takes a little bit of everything on thissurface. Will and a little luck and somewinners and some errors from your opponent. Most of all, you gotta do the right thing at the right time.
Likeevery other tournament, championships don't come to you. At least they haven't come to me. I have had to work for them. You have to do the right thing on thecourt. That's what I'll be aiming to do.