A display of raw desire over a decade ago from sister Serena inspired Venus Williams to ascend the summit of the women’s game but there will be no room for sentiment when the siblings meet for the fourth time in a Wimbledon final on Saturday.
As 29-year-old Venus chases a coveted sixth Wimbledon singles crown,she recalled how her sister’s early mettle made a big impression.
“We were playing in Sydney,I think she was playing (Lindsay) Davenport,who at the time was at least in the top five or maybe higher. We were just coming on tour,” Venus told reporters after reaching her eighth singles final at the grasscourt major with victory over top seed Dinara Safina.
“Serena was down 1-6,2-5… I’ll just never forget it. She came back and won that match. It was so intense. I just learned so much from that,her fight,” she added. “That actually had a huge impression on my career,that one incident.
“We saved the article. Afterwards I would read it with an Australian accent. We’d read it over and over again,about how she overcame all the odds and won that match… it was a huge lesson for both of us.”
Memory of that early match has driven the sisters to win a combined total of 17 grand slam singles titles and both have been ranked number one in the past.
With their head-to-head record standing at 10-10,family bragging rights will also be at stake on Saturday.
The Williamses have certainly been a force to be reckoned with at the All England Club because since 2000 only one women’s Wimbledon final has not featured at least one of the sisters and this year has proved no different.
“This is what we dreamed of when we were growing up,” 27-year-old Serena told reporters. “This is what we worked for,and this is what we want… it’s all come down to this.”
As they prepare for combat second seed Serena will be battle weary,having almost stumbled at the last hurdle when she dropped her first set of the fortnight and had to save a match point in a nail-biting semi-final win over Elena Dementieva.
In contrast Venus,who has won 35 consecutive sets dating back to the third round of the 2007 championships,dropped just one game in her crushing semi-final defeat of world number one Safina and remains the favourite to take the title.
Before they can get into the mindset of facing each other as opponents the pair first have to stand side by side as partners,as they warm up for their head-to-head with a doubles semi-final clash against top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber on Friday.
But despite their strong doubles partnership and off-court sisterly bond third seed Venus made it clear there would be no let-up in her desire to win when it comes to taking on her sister on U.S. Independence Day.
“I’m happy for her to be in the final but I have to face her and defeat her,” said Venus. “I don’t like to ever see her disappointed in any way. But at the same time,I don’t want to see myself disappointed.
“I need to get my titles,too,” added Venus,who is trailing behind her sister in grand slam titles,holding seven to Serena’s 10. “I’m still the big sister,but I’m still going to play great tennis.”