Past The Venus Hurdle, Serena Scents Historic Grand Slam
Gaurav Kalra writes of Serena Williams’ agony of having to beat her sister to keep her calendar slam date.
Serena Williams grimaced.
Across the net big sister was being mean. She wasn’t letting her have this easy. Serena won the first set. Venus rebounded by taking the second. A decider would settle this backyard battle.
So, when a winner scorched past her, Serena grimaced.
And when she won a hard-fought point, Serena grimaced some more.
The crowd was electrified. But for Serena, this was agony. She wanted to get off this court.
Finally, after more than an hour and a half of a brutal, intense, ferocious confrontation, little sister heard “Game, set and match, Serena Williams.”
She sighed. Her shoulders slumped. They hugged at the net.
I think I will look back on it fondly. Obviously we are very, very tough competitors on the court, but once the match is over and the second it’s done, you know, we’re sisters, we’re room-mates, and we’re all that.
— Serena Williams
Just the other day, Novak Djokovic said he didn’t think it would even be “possible” for him to play against his brother. “I in a way admire what they’re doing for so many years to play against each other on such a big stage,” the world’s top ranked men’s player gushed.
This New York night was the 27th time Venus and Serena fronted up as professionals. Venus has beaten Serena 11 times over this period, more than any other player. Now, with her sibling just two steps from a historic calendar Grand Slam, Venus is convinced Serena’s place in history as the “greatest of all time” is secure.
I have seen players who are ranked 100, who didn’t believe they could win a match against you, fight you tooth and nail and try to take you down. That didn’t happen when I started so just to be able to win at this level, I think that’s what makes her the best.
— Venus Williams
Tags apart, Serena now heads towards the home stretch of this incredible, if exhausting journey. In the semifinal she will front up against Italy’s Roberta Vinci, a player who hasn’t won a set in four previous encounters between them. The pundits predict a cakewalk. Not Serena.
“I’m not going to underestimate her,” she insisted. “She played really well. She’s not in the semifinals of a Grand Slam for no reason. She knows what to do and she knows what to play.”
Having given her little sister a stern runaround, Venus will now take her spot in the trenches. No one in that stadium will have a deeper understanding of what that moment would mean, if Serena were to hold up the winner’s trophy aloft after Saturday’s final.
I think that would be huge, not just for me, but for my family, just for what it represents and how hard we have worked and where we come from. But at the same time, if it doesn’t happen it’s not going to make or break you. We don’t have anything to prove.
— Venus Williams
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