By Ayeotan Shola
Venus and Serena Williams will play each other Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.
Tennis fans will see this match as exciting but Psychologists would see it as a sibling nightmare.
They are both great tennis players. Serena’s 21 major titles and Venus’ seven speak to that.
But there is so much else going on that what very well might take place is something athletically sound, but aesthetically robotic and joyless.
That was the case in their most recent match, in the round of 16 at Wimbledon. Serena won, 6-4, 6-3, and if there ever was an hour and a half of going through the motions on a tennis court, that was it. All the body language translated to: “I don’t really want to be here”
Serena Williams next win now would have to come against big sister Venus, who began, years ago, as the better player, role model and shoulder to cry on — normal big-sister things.
“Growing up,” Serena says, “I never beat her.”
The recent Wimbledon matchup between the Sisters brought nice forehands and backhands and plenty of big serves. It also was an emotional and entertainment dud.
The Williams sisters are 15 months apart in age. Venus is 35 and Serena will turn 34 Sept. 26.
Tuesday will be their 26th meeting — not including the infamous 2001 default by Venus to Serena at Indian Wells that brought on 14 years of controversy and boycott. Serena has won 14 of those 26, including 11 in majors, six of them in major finals.
They have played only three times since 2013, Serena winning twice. In recent years, Venus has not only gotten a bit older, but battled an illness that affected her stamina.
Any real hints of whether Tuesday’s matchup will trigger any fireworks whatsoever were not forthcoming Sunday.
Venus was asked on court, after her victory, what it was like to be part of this great sibling rivalry.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “I’m proud of her. She’s proud of me.”
Serena said, “I’m playing the best player in the tournament. She knows how to play, how to win. She knows all my weaknesses.”
And later, “We have proven you can be enemies on the court and friends after.”
Credit: NDTV Sports