V. WILLIAMS/T. Bacsinszky
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Serena was saying earlier everywhere she's gone she's been mobbed for autographs. Have you had similar experiences since you've come to Beijing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, everyone's been excited. So that's a good thing. Everybody's excited about the Olympics, and I'm part of the Olympics, so I feel like I'm part of the whole movement.
Q. Before you came here, what athletes were you excited to meet or what events did you think you wanted to go to? Have you had time to do any of that yet?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I had no illusions. I'll be here all day every day hopefully, playing the singles and the doubles. I don't think I'll get to see anything or meet anyone.
It will be a privilege, though, to be playing later into the rounds.
Q. How did you feel about the match today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel really good about the match. That was my first match since the Wimbledon doubles final. I was really pleased. Not a lot of unforced errors. No service breaks for me.
I thought she played really tough, served really well. She missed a couple of shots that helped me. But in general I thought it was a well-contested match, and I think I did the right things to come out on top.
Q. I understand that you have won the championship for both singles and doubles of the Sydney Olympic Games. You also won the championship for the singles in Wimbledon. In Beijing this time you'll be playing both singles and doubles. What is your expectation for the Games here and how do you distribute your energy for the coming American matches?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, obviously, I mean, the first part is being part of the Olympic spirit, which is the first thing, competing in the games. That's what it's about: competing and peaceful relations.
Second, of course I would love to have gold in both events. I have to work hard to deserve it. I'm willing to do that and make those sacrifices.
As far as energy for both matches, or both events, I mean, I know it's going to take a lot of energy. But fortunately I have a really good partner, name's Serena Williams, and she's going to do more than half the work, so that's going to help me a lot.
Q. How long did it take you to come down from the high of winning Wimbledon and then to start thinking about the Olympics?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, immediately because I had to play doubles. I really, really wanted to win that, so I got really focused. Of course, after that was great.
For me, I think that title meant a lot. I think that I'll always carry that title with me on the court, just the whole whatever it took to win, I'll take that with me every time. So it meant a lot to me.
Q. I would like you to give us a brief introduction of your feelings after you arrived in Beijing in terms of the preparation and the value, the venue for the tennis matches. We actually have several million listeners. I would wonder if you would like to say a few words to our audience.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd like to say hello. I'm very happy to be in Beijing. Of course, I was waiting for this moment since Athens. I hope that they get to see the tennis that I'm playing, along with the other competitors, on TV or in person.
Q. I know you have an interest in fashion design and you also have a professional certificate in this field. I wonder if you have any new works and whether your trip to Beijing this time, particularly the Chinese elements in the opening ceremonies, has given you any enlightenment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The question was, was I inspired by Chinese design?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, of course, I love Chinese design. I love the different motifs and the different patterns. I think also it's inspirational, the different design periods, I mean, so many thousands of years of history, I think. You can find so much inspiration in those thousands of years. So, of course, it's very inspirational for me.
A lot of times I'll buy books when I go to different countries, and it just shows different designs and different patterns. Of course, I have one from here, too.
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S. WILLIAMS/O. Govortsova
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Can you tell us, this experience, do you remember the one in Sydney? Do you see some difference in the Olympic atmosphere? Is it the same? What has changed? Do you like it more? Less?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It brings back memories from Sydney. I didn't remember too much because I didn't go to Athens. But, you know, I was a little nervous going out there yesterday because, you know, it's the first time you played singles at the Olympics. And, you know, obviously I wanted to win and I wanted to do well.
Like, you know, it's a great thing going out there playing for your country. It's cool. You get to play and see all these other athletes. You think about it, it's like, my God, it's the Olympics.
Q. I'm sure you've been asked a million times before, but how does the atmosphere differ between a Grand Slam and an Olympics? What would you rather have, a Wimbledon title or an Olympic gold medal?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, for me, my whole life as an athlete, I've been working to win Grand Slams. As a tennis player, you never work to win a gold medal.
But my gold medal is the only trophy that I really, like, want to show to people. It's my favorite thing that I have. So it's hard to say.
Q. How many photos and how many autographs did you sign in the village? How many people asked you? Do the athletes stop you asking for a photo and autograph? Did you ask another athlete for an autograph? Which one would you like to have?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm not staying at the village. But I went to the village the other day. I was bombarded with lots of people and lots of photos. It was a lot. I can't count. But it was cool, I guess. I mean, these athletes sometimes don't get to see other athletes in such an intimate way.
Who would I like? I like taking pictures of everybody. I mean, Michael Phelps, because I think he does so well. So that would be kind of cool.
Q. Have you been getting around much? Have you been going to see anything? On the part of the aspect of meeting other athletes, all that, you're used to getting autograph requests from general fans, but does it seem strange that other elite athletes would be asking you for pictures and autographs?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't been able to do much. You know, the team got here late last week. And we were training and practicing. The only thing I got to do was go to the village, which was really cool for me. I went with Venus. We both went to the village.
It is weird when someone from, like, Australia or all these other countries who are doing so well, they come and ask you for an autograph or a photo. It's like, you know, Okay, you're an athlete, you're doing well, too. So, if anything, it's such a big compliment to myself, it makes me feel really, like, cool.
Q. How do you find the draw? You could meet Radwanska. How about that? You beat her easily. Do you like playing her or not?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we both have to win our matches to get there. Radwanska, I think she does well. I know she's in the top 10 now. I think that's amazing. I think she has a really good game. And she's young, and she has a lot of room to improve. So that's when your game is really amazing: when you have room for improvement.
Q. Which was a tougher workout, standing in the opening ceremonies for four hours, or playing the match today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Today because I didn't go to opening ceremonies.
Q. What is your impression of Beijing? How do you feel about the venues in terms of the hardware? How do you feel about the spectators?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's awesome how Beijing has come through with the Olympic Games. I love, most of all, the Olympic Lane, so we never have traffic. It's really cool. I mean, it wasn't like that the other Olympics I went to. So I think that's cool. I can see, like, all the venues. It looks like it was really well-organized and well put together and well thought out. It's really amazing to see.
Q. If someone naughty would say tennis players sometimes are a little spoiled because all the best athletes in the world go maybe in the village, they live in the village, go to the ceremony. Some others don't participate. What would you answer? You want to win, but everyone wants to win. Do you think you need your concentration, you need a nice luxurious hotel?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, there are a few tennis players staying in the village. I know Lindsay is, James Blake, whatnot. But I just choose not to stay in the village because, you know, I mean, I like privacy. I don't always want people around me, like all that other stuff.
Also, I know there's a lot of basketball athletes who aren't in the village, aren't staying there. There's a lot of athletes in general who are staying at hotels, not staying at the village.
What was the second part of the question?
Q. Do you think the top tennis players are more spoiled than other athletes?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, with the opening ceremonies. No, I'm probably one of the few people that didn't go because I get sleepy at 7:00. And it's like, I don't know, I go to sleep really early. And then, you know, I've been to the opening ceremonies in Sydney. I was in a foul mood by the time 5:00 came around. So it just wasn't worth it.
After seven hours of standing, I've got to preserve my body. I mean, I need to be here to win a gold medal, is my goal. You know, there's a lot of people, everyone wants to win, but there's only one who can, and hopefully that can be me.
Q. There's a potential for some big-name matchups in the later rounds. Do you see that's something that could prompt more interest in tennis, with the Olympics? Why do you think tennis isn't a very well-watched sport in the Olympics?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think tennis is a really well-watched sport in the Olympics. I know I watched it when I didn't play in Athens. I watched it when I was younger.
Also, again, tennis players, you know, their main goal is to win Grand Slams. You know, we have four times. That's what we work for, from an early age, is to win Grand Slams. You have gymnasts who have one, maybe two opportunities to play the Olympics, if they're lucky. That's what they work for, is the Olympics.
I mean, I would see why that would be the case. But, I mean, for the rest of the year, it's all eyes on us.
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