By Leland Stein III
LONDON – Venus and Serena Williams have made The Wimbledon Lawn and Tennis Center their personal playground. The sisters have each won five Wimbledon singles titles. For Serena it has been an unbelievable month. First, she wins her fifth Wimbledon Grand Slam singles, then she comes right back and doubles her pleasure with two more gold medals – one in singles and her third gold medal in doubles with her sister Venus.
Serena and Venus now have won four gold medals each. They have three doubles titles together, 2000 in Sydney, 2008 in Beijing Games and now the ladies can add 2012 to their rising gold medal collection. Venus won her singles gold at the 2000 Games. The sisters have become the most decorated tennis players in the modern history of the Olympic Games. Since Venus had already won a singles gold, Serena told me she really wanted to get it done at these Games; however, she was quick to add the doubles was more important to her. “It was so exciting to win singles,” Serena said following her double’s gold venture, “but like I said at the beginning of the tournament my main goal was to get another gold medal in doubles. There’s something about standing next to Venus and holding that gold medal. Three times we have played in the Olympics together and three times we have got the gold medal. We are pretty stoked about it.”
Added Venus: “It is so exciting being in the Olympics and winning the gold with your sister. It has been amazing watching Serena, seeing her win the singles title and completing the golden slam. We have been winning the doubles title together since 2000, so we come in here as the favorite, but it’s easier said than done.
Surely Venus and Serena are not the young kids on the block anymore as each is over 30 When Serena swept through the 2012 Wimbledon field to claim her 14th Grand Slam title, many marveled because in the tennis world longevity is not how world-class tennis players evolve. Serena and Venus appear to be breaking the mold, by managing to sustain a world-class competitive level. The sisters said they have a lot more tennis left in them.
“I think we love it more than anything,” Serena said. “We don’t do it for any other reason outside of pure joy. It is a great opportunity to do something that you love every day. Not everyone gets to do that with their lives. So we really enjoy these moments.” Added Venus: “I think for us, knowing that we have so much more to give, that we still have great tennis in our racquets. We want to be able when we’re done, to look back and say we gave everything.”
Serena in particular has been playing spectacular tennis. She outlasted the Wimbledon women’s stellar field a month ago and came right back and overwhelmed an equally stellar Olympic field. She took Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova to task in straight sets. On why she is playing such great tennis right now Serena said she just gives all the glory to God for getting her healthy. Then she added with a smile: “Lately I’ve been focused only on tennis, nothing else, no distractions, no life. My life is practice in the morning, training in the afternoon. Wake up to practice in the morning and training. Definitely been spending a lot of time on the tennis court. I have a nothing-to-lose attitude. Maybe my health concerns gave me a new fire that I would not have had.”
Serena has played in 17 Grand Slam Finals, winning 14. She is No. 4 all-time in Grand Slam singles victories and Venus has made it to 14 Grand Slam Finals, winning seven times, and, it appears they there may be more on the horizon.
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