And just in the third set I said, 'Okay, let's try to stay focused' and then I was
thinking of all the things (unheard) first match back: 'You're actually doing really good V.' And (laughs) so it was exciting also to get it at 3 all
which is in the third set a tough point in the match and to come through really well and to play well and to close it out, so I felt good.
Question: Why did you decide to make Memphis the place of your comeback?
Venus Williams: Um, basically I had to, you know, withdraw from the Australian Open, and I had to withdraw also from Antwerp
so, you know, each week I was... I didn't know if I would play. So even last week I was... I didn't know how I would feel because my wrist was,
you know, still sore in practice. Coming here has just been really dreamy. I felt like I didn't know if I would be here or not. Now that I've won
a match, it's so exciting.
Question: You got a lot of love tonight from the crowd.
Venus Williams: I know. It's awesome. It was so awesome.
Question: How do you like that small arena (seats 5,200 and was full Monday night during Venus' match)?
Venus Williams: It feels good. Everything's close but still there's a lot of room to run. You know I'm a big girl. And um, it just
felt really good to be on the court. She's actually a good player.
Question(Mac Winker, owner of tournament): John Conners is here, Jimmy's brother...
Venus Williams: Hey!
Question(Mac Winker, owner of tournament): He felt like the match was like a prize fight. He said it was like being at a prize fight,
because everybody's so close. Do you feel that?
Venus Williams: Yea. Everyone's close. The crowd was very nice to me, but also at the same time, they enjoyed the good
points. You know, they were also really supportive of her. But it's nice to have the crowd behind you especially in your home country, because
a lot of the times you have, even at the US Open it isn't really like that. Like you don't always, at least I haven't always felt them behind me so it's
really comforting. It's nice.
Question: Is it still too early to tell... the first match about the wrist?
Venus Williams: I mean I'm really confident at this point. I really didn't know what to expect in the first match. Like I said, it was sore
in practice and I'm not always hitting 100%. And to be honest like in this match was like the first time I was even hitting like that. So a lot of it
is adrenaline (unheard). I feel confident about tomorrow.
Question: Was the second set more mental... getting away from you?
Venus Williams: It's definitely mental I think, just losing serve in the second game. And then the errors just started coming. I had a
weird service game with a lot of doublefaults and unforced errors and then like big serves and big shots. (unheard) I have a lot of things going on
in my head, and just, you know, getting back to the game flowing, so sometimes I was feeling that, and sometimes I wasn't. So I think that with
each match that I play it's just going to be so crucial for me.
Question: When you said it's not always like that, I wonder where you felt... is it not always like that?
Venus Williams: No it's not. No this is special. It's very special.
Question: Venus, there was a 71 year old woman who I met who'd never been to a tennis match before. She described herself as
a maid, she
cleans houses, and it's the first time she's ever came to see someone play. She's African-American. I suspect there's a lot of people like that
who come to see you. Is it humbling? Are you aware
of that? I mean what does it mean to know this 71 year old who goes through her life without watching tennis and here she is watching you?
Venus Williams: Well it's exciting because I feel like an ambassador for my sport. And for me tennis has been so wonderful. It's
taken me places that I would have never dreamed of. I feel like an advocate of the game. I feel like if I can take the game places where it wouldn't
been before, it's a beautiful thing. Definitely I see a lot of new faces, a lot of color in the crowd since I started playing and especially here. There
were a lot of African-Americans in the audience so that's really exciting and flattering. It's a beautiful thing.
Question: What was the feeling this morning? The first time in four months... What was it like?
Venus Williams: Um, it was a countdown. It was definitely a countdown (laughs) and finally stepping out there. You know I felt
good. I didn't feel too nervous or anything. Like I said it's just about being out there and playing when it really counts. I definitely was able to pull
out some good points. I think she's a very good player.
Question: Coming out, you know this is a Tier III and she seemed to be running you a lot. How would you rate her?
Venus Williams: Well I think she's a good competitor. I think she likes my pace. When I'm hitting the ball, you know, I'm pretty
much going for it the whole time so I think she likes my pace. Sometimes I was going for more pace and less placement. And she's really a
speedy little player. She actually gets a lot of first serves in which helps her a lot. So I think as the match went on, and she started to feel
confident like she could get into the match, then that's when things got a little tougher for me.
Question: Does it feel strange to be back out there at all with 5,000 people? I know sometimes you were having trouble with the
ball toss a little bit...
Venus Williams: Yea...no it's just when you don't get your toss right, the serve's gonna to be wrong so you've just gotta do it over.
It's a simple as that. But it felt good. I definitely feel like I'll be better tomorrow to be honest. I felt like I've been there and I can do this so it's
a good feeling.
Question: Now that you're through the match in three sets as opposed to winning one and one, is it important to get through a
match like this? It's a little bit of a test?
Venus Williams: I think it was very important for me to win the match; first because I'm not playing next week. And also because
I really want to be here. And also because I really need the matches... like I don't want to come and play one match and then after three weeks
play another. I need this (laughs) so she's played a lot. I really needed this match. I really wanted to come through. It's good for me. This is what
Question: Venus how much were you able to practice?
Venus Williams: You know I've been practicing for about seven weeks; you know, first starting slow: 25 minutes a day, four days
a week. Definitely always doing a lot of fitness... trying to stay strong so I don't come out here and get injured... injure something else. Because
it's taxing. You know it's hard. Things hurt. My knees flare up...justing easing in with my wrist... just starting out with slices on the backhand... so
just gradually and finally I'm here.
Question: When was your last match? What was the problem with the wrist?
Venus Williams: My last match was in Luxembourg where I tried to come back and play. It didn't work out. I sprained my wrist.
Question: (unheard) Luxembourg?
Venus Williams: When did I sprain it?
Question: (somebody says October)
Venus Williams: My wrist problems started at the French Open. And I just couldn't conquer them so I had to come off tour.
Question: So now do you need tomorrow as another test: playing back to back matches and testing out that wrist for a
second straight day?
Venus Williams: I mean I feel like... I feel like my wrist is going to be fine. Definitely coming back playing matches is different on
the body... just I think the emotions... the chemicals that run through your body. I'll be probably a little sore. But nothing, nothing (unheard). I think
I'll be fine.
Question: Do you expect to feed off this crowd a lot of this week?
Venus Williams: I think so. Everybody's so positive and I loved it. And I'm really glad I had the opportunity to be here. And I hope I'll
have the opportunity to be here next year too.
Question: Any words of encouragement from the family before you left?
Venus Williams: Um, I'm not sure if my mom knows I'm playing (laughs), because she would have told me maybe I shouldn't be
playing. And (laughing) so now I'll call her. Um, of course my other sisters knew I was playing and my dad. So I'll definitely give my mom a call
tonight, but they're all so encouraging. It's nice because when I'm really upset with myself, they always say, you know, 'you can do it;
you're the best'. And I'm like 'yea.' So it's wonderful to have the family behind you.
Question: Looks like your dad left in the second set. Does he do that sometimes?
Venus Williams: Yea he does do that sometimes, but I don't really look in my box a lot.... the only time... I don't look in my box
a lot. I only looked in my box like in the last game. You know, because I was looking to them, and I wanted to close it out. And they're like
'yea'. But I don't look too much to them, because I feel like I have it within.
Question: You mentioned oncourt about the inspiration you got from Serena (Williams, her sister). Do you think that sort of made
you come back faster?
Venus Williams: Um, getting back on tour?
Venus Williams: No, I mean... I can't come back until I can play physically healthy.
Question: How much of an inspiration was it?
Venus Williams: It was definitely very, very inspiring. She just definitely proved
on all levels in life that if you apply yourself, you can do it. If you believe in yourself, you can
do it. If you fight the battle, you just have to go out there and try.
Question: Did she really think before the start of the tournament (Australian Open 2007) that she could win it?
Venus Williams: I think first thing first that she knows that she has the ability. And the next thing is that she knows that she is a
fighter, and she knows that.
Question: Venus you seemed to be a little tight during the match and then you relaxed. Do you play better when you're relaxed
or when you're um, focused?
Venus Williams: I think I play better when I'm relaxed. I really like to definitely stay even (unheard). And I feel like, you know,
especially first match back; there's a lot of emotions: up and down, yes and no. So I'm looking forward to these next matches...just kind of
finding a happy medium.
Question: You seemed to have trouble on your first serve in the first set and then you went though that doublefault routine. Is the
serve something you're still working through?
Venus Williams: No not really. I definitely wasn't expecting that. I felt like my first serve wasn't where I wanted it to be, but I feel
like I tried to adjust, you know, take some pace off... hit more spin. It was coming the way I wanted it to. And I think by the third set I was pretty
Question: Will you part some words of wisdom to our inner city youth?
Venus Williams: Um, just definitely to look for role models. Definitely find someone that you find as positive and emulate
them. And definitely look within yourself and see what you enjoy doing and pursue that.
Question: Venus when you came out, you had your game face on. The crowd was cheering you on. We didn't see a fist pump until
your second to last game.
Venus Williams: Oh really?
Question: Yea. What does that mean?
Venus Williams: I don't know. I was... I don't know. I felt there were some. But I'll work on that (laughs).
Question(Moderator): Last question please.
Question: Do you think that using your serve to set up the points was one of the keys to your win today?
Venus Williams: I think definitely my serve makes me an above average player. There's a lot of things that help me to be above
average. My serve is definitely is one of them. I can get those service winners and set up points. I definitely look to that. When my serve isn't
working, it makes it a little more difficult, because I'm used to playing with like a serve working (laughs). So I definitely have to adjust a lot and
figure out when it's not working, what to do. But it should always work.