Nineteen years after their first career meeting happened in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open, 35-year-old Serena Williams and 36-year-old Venus Williams are clashing in the final at Melbourne Park and the younger sis will battle for a record 23rd Grand Slam singles title. Let’s take a moment to travel down the memory lane with the sport’s legends as part of my Little Tennis Stars series.
It’s amazing that the sisters were winning prestigious trophies as youngsters and two decades later they are still ruling! In 1997, 17-year-old Venus Williams finished runner-up to 16-year-old Martina Hingis at the US Open in the youngest Grand Slam final and now Venus is the oldest woman to reach an Australian Open final in the Open era and the second oldest to play a Grand Slam final.
The 2017 Australian Open final is the oldest women’s final in the Open era, as Venus’ and Serena’s combined age is 71.
The sisters have accumulated a total of 120 singles titles which include 29 Grand Slam titles. If you really like maths, try adding up all their women’s doubles and mixed doubles title!
The sisters’ first clash in a Grand Slam final was way back in 2001, when Venus defeated Serena to claim the US Open title, while a year earlier they also faced each other in the big Miami final.
After years of countless successes and 27 all-Williams matches, Serena is more than happy to see her sister in the Australian Open final.
“She’s my toughest opponent,” said Serena, who leads Venus 16-11 in their career clashes. “No one’s ever beaten me as much as Venus has.”
The fact is, though, that Serena has six Australian Open titles to her name, while Venus lost her sole Australian Open final to her younger sister back in 2003.
We know that the sisters will be happy with any outcome of the final, but who would you like to lift the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup?
And who do you think has a greater chance of winning? I’ll go with Serena, as we all know how dominant she is.
And before I finish, I’d like to share photos from Serena’s and Venus’ first pro matches, that I found at Tennis Forum!
On 6th November 1994 in the first round of Oakland, Venus defeated Shaun Stafford 6-3 6-4, before losing in the second round to top seed Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 2-6 6-3 6-0.
Serena’s first professional match was a 6-1 6-1 loss to Annie Miller in the first round of qualifying in Quebec City on 30th October 1995.
The flies, but Venus and Serena are timeless!
Enjoy more childhood photos of the Williams sisters: