Venus Williams’ appearance in January’s Australian Open final wasn’t, as it turned out, a temporary return to the head table of grand slam tennis for the 37-year-old.
The round of 64 saw the American again go to a tie breaker against Naomi Osaka in the first set to go on then and win the match (7 (7)- 6 (3), 6-4).
Murray will retain his place at the top of the world rankings on Monday despite his loss to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon while Konta will climb at least to fifth.
But it was Williams who left as the victor on the day.
“They could have really been even more boisterous”.
The situation was compounded by one of the few genuine superstars, Maria Sharapova, being suspended for 15 months for a doping offence. She passed her sister Serena on the active Wimbledon win list this year, and her current record stands at 87-14 at Wimbledon. Muguruza’s serve has never been her biggest weapon, but she does have youth on her side and could aim to to turn the final into a marathon.
“As Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ coach and an ESPN commentator at Wimbledon, observed on air: “[Venus] has to move Garbine out of her comfort zone, make her run and hit on the move.
Then there have been three Grand Slam champions who have retired very soon after reaching their peak.
All these years later, Wimbledon still brings out the best in Venus Williams.
We’ve witnessed that with her sister Serena, who has also had her athleticism downplayed and relegated to being good “for a woman”. Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams have taken breaks for parenthood. However, Williams will be pleased with how her form has improved as the tournament has progressed.
There was no chance of Venus having one of those, having a long-standing aversion to media duties.
Despite the almost identical first-serve-conversion rates, Williams has won 80 percent of her first-serve points, more than 7 percentage points better than Muguruza.
“I missed Serena so much especially before this match”, Williams told reporters after winning her semi. “I’ll try to take it a step further”, Venus, looking for a sixth Wimbledon crown, said.
“When I reached the final in 2015, and when I won the French Open, I could feel the difference between winning a grand slam and not winning”.
“Definitely I want to win, for sure”, Muguruza said on Friday. It is hard not to root for Venus to carve out a little more history, nearly stepping out of Serena’s limelight, but she will have to battle hard for it.
She is very alert and it seems like she is more alert when she comes here.
Williams’ career has been a series of surprises. “It’s very different to hold the trophy than what I achieved in the final here in 2015”.
Everyone assumed she was washed up, although the subsequent discovery of Sjogren’s Syndrome may have been a factor. As it is, she is the oldest finalist at Wimbledon since Martina Navratilova was the 1994 runner-up at age 39. The finals of the men’s and women’s singles at Wimbledon today and tomorrow are offering robust counter-evidence to those who claim that the giants of sport today are the 20-something gladiators with ripped bodies and robotic minds.
Williams, a five-time singles champion at the All England Club, plays Garbine Muguruza for the championship on Saturday.