Siblings compete for everything. It’s what they do. They compete for the front seat of the car, the bigger slice of cake and the longest bedtime story. Now imagine that you are competing against your sister but on the world stage, and your sister is making a historic run for a Grand Slam title that has not been won in 27 years. Do you just let her win and say, “Oh I’ll get the next one” or do you fight like hell to win the match?
On Tuesday night, Venus Williams was in this exact scenario, and she chose the latter. Venus, the older Williams sister, was pitted against Serena in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. Serena has been on the cover of every magazine and has been the conversation topic on every sports talk show this past month — will she do it? Serena has the opportunity to win the first Grand Slam, victories at the four major tennis tournaments in the same calendar year (the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open), since 1988.
Tuesday night, under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York and the eyes of tennis fans everywhere, the sisters battled it out in an epic match. The first set handily went to Serena who won the set 6-2. The next set went to Venus who exploited the mid-match lull that Serena found herself in. Venus won that set 6-1. After pulling herself together, the Serena that we have grown accustomed to hunkered down and won the final set 6-3.
Following the final point of the match, the sisters met at the net for a hug. Venus, with a huge smile, threw her arms around her sister’s neck. No matter how much you want to win the bigger slice of cake or, in this case, the tennis match, there is no love lost between sisters when the other wins.
In a post-match interview, Serena said, “she’s the toughest player I ever played in my life, and the best person I know. So it’s going against your best friend and going against, for me, the greatest competitor in women’s tennis.” The nice words for her sister did not stop there; she went on to say, “she was at an unbelievable level today. Down to the match point, it just was not easy. It’s probably the toughest match I have played in a really, really long time where I wasn’t actually beating myself. I was out there facing an incredibly tough opponent.”
“The best ever,” Venus said of Serena in her own interview after the game. “I think Serena completing the Grand Slam 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 … it would be a moment for our family.”
Serena’s next match comes Thursday night against Roberta Vinci. The championship match is set for Saturday. The biggest opponent that Serena has to face before capturing the title would be herself. She has been plagued in the past by nerves and psyching herself out. Sports Illustrated put her on the cover a few weeks ago with the headline, “It’s her’s to lose.”
Less than half an hour away from where American Pharaoh ran into the history books by winning the Triple Crown in June, Serena Williams has a chance to make history the same way. You know that Venus will be in the crowd cheering Serena on because that’s what sisters do.