The sisters will fight for a place in the history books.
It has been 17 years since their first match and the 27th time, but Venus and Serena Williams have never felt pressure like this before - history is going to happen on the court. These sisters have almost written the book on history in the last few years, completely letting go of tradition and bringing the sports back to the heart. They aren't only part of tennis history, but of sports history and are cultural icons.
Today, they will battle to take the top seed in the U.S. Open, and three time champion Serena Williams could be stopped on her way to history by her big sister Venus.
In the past, Serena has admitted that she has trouble facing down those she admires, and who does a girl admire more than her older sister?
“I don’t think anyone wants to be a spoiler,” Venus, 35, told reporters Sunday after her fourth-round win. “I think people love to see history being made. ... But at the same time, you’re focused on winning your match even though the circumstances are really much different than you.”
The last time a tennis player won a calendar Slam was in 1988 with Steffi Graf. A woman hasn't done it since 1953. Serena — amid her 21 career major titles –— has never put herself in that position - until now, that is.
Serena payed a nearly flawless match on Sunday, and is the one to beat for everyone.
“I don’t really feel like if I win this tournament it’s going to make or break my career,” Serena, 33, said in her post-match news conference Sunday after defeating Madison Keys. “I look at it that way.”
Still, playing against your sister is something that has to bring up a lot of fear in the younger player.
“I’m playing, for me, the best player in the tournament, and that’s never easy,” Serena said. “She’s beaten me so many times. She’s a player that knows how to win, knows how to beat me and knows my weaknesses better than anyone.”
Of course, the match is also taking a toll on the family, who has no idea who they should be cheering for in this match.
“It’s never easy,” said Isha Price, Venus’ and Serena’s sister told USA Today. “I think they’re both happy to be in the place that they are. It’s toughest on my parents. It’s tough for us to watch, because you want the best for both of them.”
“They both want to win,” said Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena’s coach. “You can love the person on the other side of the net, but if you are a real competitor — which they both are — on a tennis court you forget and you play.”
There is another bit of history that could be made, this could be the last time that the sisters will meet in competitive play.
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“We both know the draw, so we are both prepared to play each other,” Venus said. “It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes it does. Then we go. We go.”