Sisters Venus and Serena Williams are on tap to clash in the Finals at Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON – So here we go again today with another final on Centre Court, Serena Williams vs. Venus Williams: The selfish, volatile kid sister against the generous, protective, older sister.
That’s the way they give it to us, and that’s the way we write it. How else can we see this thing? Serena herself took the time at Wimbledon to call herself “a brat,” and the stories they tell on each other don’t play out any differently.
There are the times the two sisters go to a clothing store, and Venus tries on a dress.
“She’ll be like, ‘No, that doesn’t look good,’ ” Venus said. “As soon as I put it down, she tries it on.”
Or when they lodge together for a tournament, and Serena gets the bigger room, or the one with the better view.
“I always defer,” Venus said. “She picks first. It makes me happy.”
They are so different on the court, too. Venus is calm, introspective. If she fails to apologize to an opponent for a net cord, it is only because she is in this Zen state that prevents her from recognizing the existence of anything but the next point.
Serena, however, has been certified many times over as a raging maniac.
“The thing about Serena is that I’ve never met anybody who hates to lose so much,” said her father, Richard, who watched the sisters win a doubles semifinal Friday before he caught a flight home. “And if she loses at anything, you don’t want to be anywhere near her.”
She is working on that, Serena tells us. A champion needs to be a gracious loser, and Serena wants to be the perfect champion.
But to be champion of Wimbledon, Serena will need to beat her sister, who has played by far the best tennis of this tournament. Venus is playing better than Serena and better than Venus played herself for most of her past five championships at Wimbledon.
Her footwork here on the grass is comfortable, balletic, while Serena has clomped around so hard we fear for the earthworms.
And yet, there is another factor. Venus feels Serena’s pain. We’re not sure it works the other way around. With Venus, there is empathy and ambivalence. With Serena, there is only sheer, naked will.
“When I’m playing someone (other than Serena), I want them to lose,” Venus said. “But I don’t like to ever see her disappointed in any way. But at the same time, I don’t want to see myself disappointed.”
How can somebody battling such mixed emotions strike a clean forehand? And yet Venus has held her own. She beat Serena here in the 2008 final and they have a 10-10 career record against each other.
Venus smiles at the thought of such a stalemate when she eventually hangs up her racket. Serena? No thank you.
“Would I like it to end even? Of course not,” Serena said. “Then I wouldn’t win.”
It has been this way since they first burst on the scene, when too many observers saw these two very different sisters as the same person. They were both African-Americans, both Williamses, both the products of the same parents and environment . . . surely, they were identical twins.
Except they weren’t. Yes, they both struck the ball with unprecedented pace. After that, they were nothing alike.
Had they been born the other way around, it is hard to imagine how Serena would have put up with such a threat from below. Venus was made for the role. When she was first playing as a teenager, when the stage was supposed to be hers alone, Richard Williams was already telling people that his younger daughter, Serena, might be even better.
Nobody believed him. Venus knew it was true and somehow did not take the least bit offense.
To this day, she understands what that was all about.
“He was just doing his job,” Venus said. “He was like dad and coach and promoter. Everyone was always saying, ‘There’s never been two siblings who were great.’ My dad of course believed in her and he did what he needed to do.”
Here they are again in a fourth Wimbledon final. Whether Venus wins or loses, she’ll be both happy and sad. If Serena wins, she’ll be happy. If she loses, stay out of her way.
They love each other, and who are we to judge? But today on Centre Court, someone needs to look out for the older sibling.
Source: NYDAILY NEWS