New York, August 13
Well, this positive is a high quality means for tennis to herald its return after the pandemic-caused hiatus: Serena Williams vs Venus Williams.
The siblings meet one another for the 31st time once they take the court docket at a WTA event in Kentucky on Thursday.
“It’s so special,” Venus stated. “Here we go again.”
It’s an opportunity for the 2 former No. 1-ranked girls and house owners of 30 Grand Slam singles titles between them (23 for Serena; seven for her older sister) to gauge the place their video games are following about six months away from the game — and an opportunity for tennis followers to recollect what they have been lacking whereas the excursions had been suspended due to the coronavirus.
“I haven’t played in forever, so I want to play the best players,” Venus stated with amusing, then added: “And I think I got my wish in playing Serena.”
So what if there aren’t any spectators allowed on the hard-court occasion due to the coronavirus outbreak? So what if it is occurring at a low-key, brand-new event, the place site visitors will be seen driving backwards and forwards on a road behind the court docket? And so what if it is merely within the second spherical, moderately than with a trophy at stake?
Sure, all in all, this will probably be a distant from the kinds of phases which have hosted these two stars up to now, together with 9 Williams vs. Williams matchups in Grand Slam singles finals, together with 4 in a row from 2002-03.
Serena leads the rivalry 7-2 in these contests, and 18-12 general.
“I feel like I always play Venus in every single tournament, first or second round,” Serena stated after needing to place collectively a comeback to beat 60th-ranked Bernarda Pera 4-6 6-Four 6-1 in her opening match in Kentucky and first wherever since February.
“So that’s annoying.”
Actually, it has been almost two full years because the sisters’ final assembly, a third-rounder on the 2018 US Open that Serena received 6-1 6-2.
What each they and others ought to bear in mind is that there isn’t a solution to know what number of extra of those there will probably be. Venus, in spite of everything, turned 40 in June. Serena turns 39 in September.
As the August 31 scheduled begin of the US Open approaches, this match is an opportunity for the 2 of them to check themselves and the adjustments they have been making.
These aren’t two individuals who appear as in the event that they’re able to cease competing any time quickly.
Serena has switched to a smaller racket head in 2020 as a result of, she defined, “I wanted more control.”
She was not at her greatest on the outset in opposition to Pera, even getting pushed to the precipice by falling behind love-40 at 4-all within the second set after dropping the primary. But Williams steadied herself to seize that sport, starting a run during which she took eight of 9.
Venus, in the meantime, used the lengthy break within the motion to change her service movement and forehand, which each regarded in fine condition throughout her a lot simpler first-round victory in Kentucky, 6-Three 6-2 over former No. 1 and two-time main champion Victoria Azarenka.
“I used this offseason — forced offseason — to just reevaluate what I really wanted out of my game. You got time to make a few tweaks here or there and that’s what I did,” stated Venus, who confronted just one break level and saved it in opposition to Azarenka.
“I’m quite happy with it. Obviously the more matches I play, the better I’ll get.”
Tennis is simply simply taking its preliminary steps again, beginning with a girls’s event on clay in Palermo, Italy, final week, and two occasions this week. The males nonetheless have not resumed; that’s presupposed to occur subsequent week.
Soon sufficient, if all goes properly amid the pandemic, there will probably be Grand Slam competitors in lower than three weeks. But for now, there may be Serena vs Venus, a reminder of what big-time tennis appears like.
“I’m going to definitely be watching, if I’m not practicing or anything,” stated 16-year-old American Coco Gauff, who grew up admiring the Williams sisters and beat Venus at Wimbledon final 12 months and the Australian Open this 12 months.
“This could be the last time they play. I don’t know. But we always say that — and then they end up playing each other again.” AP