a challenge to be honest. And just felt really clear about what I wanted to be and how I wanted to execute; definitely the clearest I've
felt this week. So it was a wonderful match. She's actually a very good player. I actually would have to play very well against her, because she
plays very well and returns the ball so... it definitely... I was able to take my opportunities when they counted.
Question: Are you surprised by how compared to our first match here, at how well you're playing? You've come a long way
Venus Williams: Well it's definitely about errors for me, and today I definitely didn't make too many. And in my opinion when
I'm out there playing, it's all about me. I'm going to play forceful and if I'm playing well, my like opponent's not having a chance to really
have any plays. But if I'm making too many errors, then they're just benefiting from my largess, and just Christmas presents, birthday
presents and opportunities. And it gets a little bit harder so... I feel like if I can play my game and dictate and do what I need to do, then my
life's a lot easier.
Question: Over the past several months did you hear whispers about wheather, you know, is Venus really serious about the game
anymore? Did you hear that? Did you have something to prove?
Venus Williams: I really have nothing to prove. I feel like I understand what I have within myself as far as my talent. I understand
how hard I work to be where I am. And I think that time and time again, Serena and I... if we come back from injury, we come back just as
good or better. So I'm looking to get better everytime that I play.
Question: Venus you said when you were maybe about 11 or 12 years old, your dad was your best friend. Is he still one of your
Venus Williams: Definitely. We get along really good and we have a lot of fun. I've grown up to be pretty much just like him...
between him and my mom. (laughs) Serena and I joke... sometimes we're on the phone... among all the sisters, we'll say something...
we'll be like, "daddy is that you? oh oh, that's you Serena" (laughs) we sound ju(uuuu)st like them so... They've been a major influence in our
life, and that's the way it's supposed to be.
Question: What did he show you when you ran over to him after the match? He showed you a message... something Serena...?
Venus Williams: Yea, he was sending a message to Serena that I played well, (unheard).
Question: I heard... I gather that you take something from every place where you go to play a match to bring home and decorate
your house. What are you bringing home from Memphis?
Venus Williams: (Sigh) You know, I didn't have a lot of time here. Well I did, but I was always playing in the evenings so in
the daytime I'm just conserving my energy and resting so I can't go anywhere really. So it's nice to play the marquee match, but on the
flipside... no time to... to go out.
Question: How does it feel... you talk about how excited you were, and um... You definitely showed some excitement there at
the end of that match... Is it from where you were at the beginning of the week, you know wanting to shake off some rust to coming out with
the title... how good is that at this point?
Venus Williams: It's very exciting, because I feel like I know I can play this kind of tennis. I was a little bit, you know... in the first
few matches, maybe I expected not to be at the very top of my game. But I think at the end of the day, a lot of it has to do with my
footwork. I didn't feel like I was into position and moving my feet really that much in any of the first four rounds. Today I knew I had to move.
So that commitment to really be in a postition to move my feet I think made a huge, huge difference.
Question: How did your wrist hold up with all the wear and tear this week?
Venus Williams: I'm fine. I mean I'm glad to have some weeks off. I feel like I played a tournament. I know what I need to work on.
I feel like I need to take the opportunity to get even fitter and to get even stronger... have a little rest, because playing these matches is nothing
like practice. It's really taxing on the body. So, all and all I'm fine.
Question: You mentioned that you'll take three weeks off, and you'll look to Miami. Do you have a tenative schedule you'd like to
hope to stick to for the rest of this year?
Venus Williams: Ah, I believe I'm entered in Miami and then in Charleston and Fed Cup, Warsaw, Istanbul, French Open,
Wimbledon. So I know my schedule pretty much up until Wimbledon. So, that's my plan. If I'm healthy, I'll be there.
Question: Did you get a sense about how much you meant to the Memphis crowd?
Venus Williams: For sure. I got a sense of how much I meant to Memphis: when on the court, when I was off the court, when I was
Walgreens (laughs) (media laughs), when I was at Hilton, the hotel. Whereever I was (laughs) I got a sense for how much everyone (smiling)
really, really appreciated the tennis and my tennis, what I do, so for sure (smiling).
Question: Venus (unheard) Do you have a particular target in mind?
Venus Williams: To be honest, I was hoping with this tournament I would get anywhere in the 30s. I don't know if that will
happen. After Nasdaq I haven't really thought that far ahead. I think, you know, obviously playing nicely like I did in the final, I could get
in the 20s. So it's kind of, my goal is definitely to be in the top 16 by the French. And I have about three or four more tournaments before
that so... I think it's pretty reachable.
Question: Anything about your game tonight (unheard) surprising?
Venus Williams: Her game?
Question: Your game.
Venus Williams: Oh, I like to hit the ball hard. I do. I like it when it goes "crack" (laughs). I like that sound! I like to reach.
I like to take it out the air. I like to hit it. So when I get a chance, it just excites me (laughs).
Question: Apart from a nice check and a pretty trophy, what will you take away from your experience here in your first
Venus Williams: You know, just... leading up to the tournament, like I'm thinking "I can do this" before I even get here. "But I want
to come here. I want to win this, I know I can win this tournament. I don't want anything less." So just taking it step by step and getting better,
I think I'll take away that fact that no matter what the circumstances, I know that if I work hard enough and I believe in myself, I know I
can achieve no matter what. That's what I'll take away.
Question: What can you say about her play? You played her before haven't you?
Venus Williams: No.
Question: What problems did she... of course you didn't have much problems with her...
Venus Williams: Well I think that her strength is that she's a counterpuncher. If she has a chance, she's using your pace and
trying to create some pace of her own if she can by moving forward, and then she's trying to play good defense. So this is a really good
game. Obviously she does really well with it. And for me, this kind of game I don't feel like is going to hurt me. The only thing that can hurt
me is if I'm making the errors. So, going into the match, of course this is what I'm thinking. "It's just all about me." So she has a very good game
that can definitely pressure you into the errors. When she gets the opportunity she's defintely trying to make something happen. She's a really
Question: Did you see the entire match with Serena and Peer?
Venus Williams: Yea (laughs) of course... yea.
Question: Did that help you?
Venus Williams: I guess it made me familar with her game for sure. I guess in that way, yes it did help.
Question: I know earlier in the week when I posed the question, (unheard) the semfinals and final... hadn't even thought about
meeting Shahar in the final...
Venus Williams: Right, for me it was about getting to the final. (unheard) I'm glad I'm there. Coming from injury, the first week
back also is really... is tough on the body... and gets sore... and other things get out of place. And it's just being in a match is completely
different from practice. So for me, to stay healthy and not injure something else in the first week back is just the main goal.
Question: Do you hear your father uttering those words of encouragement?
Venus Williams: Yea. Yea, because I know his voice and I know my sister's voice (unheard, interrupted)
Question: "Stay focused, be early, (unheard)"
Venus Williams: Yea for sure. I think that he just wants to let me know that not to let up. So it was good advice.
Question(Moderator): Any more questions? Thank you very much.
Venus Williams: Thank you guys.
Check back Monday for Sharhar Peer's Memphis Finals Full Interview and Audio.