Serena Williams made history on January 28th by winning the 2017 Australian Open, setting a record by taking her 23rd Grand Slam Title home. What’s even better is who she beat to accomplish such a feat.
The stage was set for Serena to raise yet another Daphne Akhurst Cup, but the only person standing in the way was her own sister, Venus Williams. The Compton-born siblings have had a reputation for keeping a long-lasting rivalry. The two are first class athletes, ranked very highly in the world of Professional Tennis, and most of all, are from the same family. It’s never often that athletes from the same family are produced and grow up to play against each other on the international stage. The two have met countless times before, as opponents, and also as partners in doubles matches as well. What’s more noteworthy than Serena’s accomplishments is how close she is to her sister.
The two have played very fiercely against each other a total of 28 times in professional singles tournaments and even though Serena is up on Venus with a 17-11 game score against her, the two are still incredibly close. They have kept their long lasting rivalry alive for nineteen years, since 1998. The fact that the both of them compete professionally and are still good to each other is amazing, especially for such a long and string rivalry. Between 2002 and 2003, the Williams even set a record for consecutive finals appearances, as both of them competed in the Grand Slam Finals four times in a row.
After losing, Venus had a heartfelt message to Serena as she said in the trophy ceremony, “I have been right there with you [,Serena], some of them I lost [like] right there against you… It’s been an awesome thing. Your win has always been my win… and all the time I couldn’t be there, wouldn’t be there, didn’t get there, you were there. I am enormously proud of you and you mean the world to me” (ESPN). Despite losing to her sister, it seems that this match just brought Venus and Serena closer.
With number 23 under Serena’s belt, the tennis beast has finally surpassed retired tennis great Steffi Graff, who the held the record for most Grand Slam Titles in Open Era with 22. Despite setting such a large milestone for women’s tennis, as well as herself, this win meant more than just breaking records. Serena later described what this win really meant in a post-match interview, “ I feel like [this win] was just a celebration for everything [Venus and I have] done in sports, everything we’ve done for women, everything we’ve tried to do to inspire people. It doesn’t matter who won or lost, I feel like we were both able to win today” (ESPN).
The fact that both these sisters can look past a win or loss and look to the collective impact both of them have made for the game of tennis and the professional sports world is what makes these athletes so well known, liked, and recognized. It’s not just their on-court performance, it’s what they endorse off the court, it’s what these sisters symbolize that makes them so memorable. Of course there’s already talk of Serena pushing her career even further, as Margeret Court, a women’s tennis player in the 1970’s and 1980’s, is next on Serena’s list of legends that she’s ready to surpass. Court amassed 24 major titles in professional tennis and there’s already talk of whether Serena can keep beat that record.
After all, records are made to be broken and forgotten, and hopefully the world will also remember the Williams sisters for what they did off the court and what they have done for tennis as a sport.
Latest posts by Omar Rashad (see all)
- Why Serena and Venus Are Sister Goals - January 30, 2017
- Angry and Hopeless, Solo Gets Suspended - August 28, 2016
- Mayweather vs. McGregor: Audacity or a Real Fight? - May 28, 2016