By the numbers, Venus Williams is not the most dominant women’s player in history, in her generation … or even in her own family … but she’s certainly one of the best ever. Venus’ sister Serena is the undisputed GOAT of women’s tennis with 72 titles, 23 Grand Slam singles and over $85 million in prize money. Serena is in good company, with stars of another era like Graf (22 Grand Slams), Navratilova (18 Grand Slams) and Evert (also 18 GS). Then there’s Serena’s big sister, Venus. She has 7 Grand Slams, despite entering the sport at the pro level a year before her sister. But, when it comes to Wimbledon, big sister Venus tends to show up and show out.
Venus Gets Ready
Venus pummeled Johanna Konta, 6-4, 6-2 in the semis to earn a spot in her ninth Wimbledon title match, though it’s her first in eight years. This berth makes Venus the oldest Wimbledon women’s finalist since Navratilova finished second way back in 1994. So, ninth try at a Wimbledon crown … the place where Venus has won five of her seven GS titles. Think about that. This is a player who is in the lower half of the top ten of all time, but she has been dominant when she steps on the court in London. Right, and that previous win? It came at the expense of the GOAT, little sister Serena. Venus faced a significant challenge in this year’s final: 2015 Wimbledon runner-up and 2016 French Open champ, Garbine Muguruza. The challenger, speaking to the AP about Venus, called the match historic. “She knows how to play, especially Wimbledon finals…”
It took only two sets for youth to overcome experience, as Muguruza bested Williams in two sets, in less than 80 minutes of court time. But, win or lose, Venus is already a success story. Diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, a disease that steals energy and causes joint pain, Venus contemplated retirement. But she persisted, despite losing again and again in the first round of tournaments against opponents people expected her to beat. It took some time, but Venus is back on form, making it to the semis in London last year and then to the finals in Australia earlier this year, where she faced – and was defeated by – her sister. Now that sister is home with a baby on the way, so Venus had the clearest shot she’s had in a while to prove to the world just how “back” she is.
If there’s something sports loves, it’s a great comeback story. Venus has already proven her early critics wrong … just who will she surprise next?