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Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 09:33 GMT
What next for Serena?
Serena Williams edged out sister Venus in three tense sets to complete her quest for the "Serena Slam".
Can Serena achieve her aim of finishing the year unbeaten?
Serena Williams' Australian Open victory made her only the fifth woman in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles.
At the beginning of the year, she set herself the target of going through the season unbeaten - and after winning in Melbourne while rarely playing at her best, it could be within the 21-year-old's reach.
For Venus, however, it is becoming a familiar tale. She also entered the history books in Melbourne - becoming the first player to lose four straight Grand Slam finals.
What next for Serena? And can Venus bounce back to upset her sister's domination?
This Sports Talk is now closed. A selection of your messages appears below.
Am I confused or isn't the Grand Slam title given to an individual who has won all four grand slams in one calendar year?
Beginning in Melbourne and ending in Flushing? Still a great job by Serena but not a true Grand Slam. Steffi is still the last true Grand Slam winner of all 4 titles.
Of course it's boring to watch Serena win tournament after tournament. So why don't we let Serena play with the men. That would have been interesting. Congratulations Serena!
Could there be any match as good as a Serena v Venus final? Do not blame it on the girls...blame it on the other weak players who are not able to challenge the Williams'.
If they are sick and tired of an all-Williams Final then they should try to beat any one of them coz if not the dynasty will never be shattered
Tactically, she is better than Venus but she can't match Venus's ability to retrieve a ball from practically any where on the court. Only time will tell who is the better player but good luck to them both!
Martin McGill of Scotland, you are a sore loser, what game were you watching? ... Don't you think the women's final was more interesting than the men's final? Do you think that was fixed too in order for Agassi to win?
I don't think Serena will go the year unbeaten. As good as she is, there will always be off days and I think she is bound to feel tired after achieving the Grand Slam. Look what happened to Arsenal when Wenger made such a claim...they went and lost three in a row.
However I hope she does it. I think she is great and the media are too harsh on her. Would Kournikova get the same treatment by the press? I don't think so.
How can Serena Williams get the Grand Slam title when three of her titles are in 2002 and one in 2003? In the past, one had to win all four titles in the same year. They did not mean an academic year.
There is no doubt Serena is the dominant player on the women's tour. Her biggest adversity is her own sister Venus Williams, although Clijsters proved capable also.
As much as I'll like to see the sisters win all the time, I think it is impossible for one player to go through the year unbeaten especially when she is competing against such crop of recent players.
I said two weeks ago that Serena was building a sense of invincibility when she talked of a Serena Slam. It is purely mental toughness and self-belief that is driving her at the moment. You need that to be a true champion.
Congratulations Serena, you are great! Martina Hingis could have achieved this first before Serena, but she lacked the discipline and self confidence when she was on the receiving end.
I don't believe Venus let Serena win in order to make history because one never knows whether they will meet again in a Grand Slam final. Venus, Clijsters, Davenport, Capriati, and Hingis must go back and work on their shortcomings if they are to beat Serena. Time will tell whether Serena can continue to dominate. I hope she doesn't lose the desire and hunger to continue winning.
It is a really arduous task to come down from 1-5 down to win a match (Serena v Kim). That both sisters played in the last four Grand Slam finals is a great credit to the Williams´ legacy. Personally I would have loved Venus to win the Australian Open, but she lacked the wit to do that. Serena's flair, flamboyance and power made the difference. Her toughest opponent now is Kim Clitsjers. Watch out! All the same, congratulations to the Williams family.
Yeah, the women's final was an exciting game to watch. In my assessment, Venus played like someone who wanted to win for the first time in the sisters' last four meetings. In my opinion, Venus lost the match and rather than Serena won it; the match was obviously Venus' but she just lost her grip on the game.
I expect Venus to come back in full force. However, I acknowledge Serena's fighting spirit; some credit should really go to her, considering the level she's been able to take her game to. All the people complaining that the sisters' games are boring should make an effort to be objective. For now, the sisters are at their best and nobody can change that.
We really need to learn to give credit to whom it is due. Serena, continue to have a very wonderful time; Venus I'm waiting for your resurgence.
Serena has nothing to prove right now. The only crown eluding her is Olympic one, and she should win that in Athens in 2004. Good luck.
I'm sure if the Williams were two white sisters, nobody would have any problem. Way to go girls! By the way, both sisters had to go through other players before getting to the finals. What prevented the other so-called players of class from eliminating either or all of the two before that happened? The answer is simple. They were all not good enough.
All those complaining about the Williams sisters meeting in the finals of major tennis events should take a hike. Every player who comes to a major tournament comes there with one aim only, and that is to win. Do you think Kim Clijsters, Daniela Hantuchova, Justine Henin and all those other players decided to do Serena and Venus a favour? They were beaten fair and square.
In these matches I would always cheer on Serena, but now I cheer for Venus. She needs to get her game together mentally anyway. I hope that this streak of Serena over Venus will end soon because I feel sorry for Venus.
So everybody is overwhelmed by Agassi's performance and form and everything but if we were to be truly objective, was it the men's final or the ladies final that was boring? or is it because Venus and Serena are sisters? these girls played their hearts out, gave everybody their money's worth of entertainment and a good tennis match and they say it is boring!!! So how do you rate the men's final then? thrilling?
Serena! Take a holiday, when you come back, you'll still be number one queen of the courts.
When someone's as great as Serena Williams, it should be genuinely recognized and not just lip service. The commentators who called the match on cable television seemed disappointed that Serena won. Let's go to the videotape and recall what the world's leading tennis players' father predicted.
Now that those predictions are reality we should be happy for the sisters and their family, give them the support for their successes on and off the court and continue to wish them well. Their unconventional approach should solidify that they're blessed with talent and they have the discipline to prove their critics and detractors wrong. Thank you.
The Serena Slam has happened after all. I am happy for Serena for setting such an ambitious target for herself and working so hard to achieve it. I can't wait to see the Venus Vengeance.
Another boring, tedious carve-up to satisfy the needs of the self proclaimed WTA( Williams Take All!). Venus' face was a picture of despondency as she entered the court. I reckon she already knew the result that Papa Williams had demanded. Perhaps she'll be allowed to win the next four?
As someone who has been privileged to watch many great finals across the decades, I can honestly say that I have never wished more for a challenger to come along and smash this all-conquering charade.
Take it or leave it, Serena will serenade the tennis scene for another decade as she possesses the strength and vigour of a true champion that is unsurpassable.
I see in her an epitome of what tennis is all about. The sky's not the limit but the Moon, as she has consistently proved to all-comers, including the elder sister Venus, that to beat her you must be 200% prepared for the speed of her game that's beyond explanation.
I'm afraid that there is a lot of racism in people's antipathy towards the Williams sisters. Do you think we'd get all these comments about their finals being boring if they were two skinny European blondes? I don't think so.
All those effete Brits who complain about the power, style and dynamism of Venus and Serena are part of the reason why tennis in the UK is in such a pathetic state and why we are about to send players ranked less than 400th to play Lleyton Hewitt in the Davis Cup.
The idea of two black girls from tough neighbourhoods beating all opposition out of sight makes the moaners choke on their cucumber sandwiches.
Until we, as a sporting nation, learn to admire and respect the drive and the ambition of the Williams sisters, we're always going to be second class - particularly at tennis.
I have been one of those who watched uncomfortably as the Williams sisters out-powered everyone else to become #s 1 and 2. I didn't enjoy watching them reach the finals of the majors, and saw them as basically power-hitters lacking finesse. Well - I was wrong.
Serena and Venus are the world's best, and deserve to be where they are. Serena in particular has all the tools; great serve, powerful strokes, superb mobility, but most of all, all the court smarts that any of the great players have ever had.
She is the best - and deserves to be the fifth woman completing a Grand Slam. Way to go - Serena!
I dearly wanted Venus Williams to win today. But I believe the moment Kim Clijsters let Serena off the hook two days ago, Venus had also lost.
Venus would almost certainly have beaten Kim, who would not have matched her psychologically. Venus seems to treat the 'little' sister with far too much respect.
When they face each other, they are not playing tennis as much as playing mind games, at which Serena excels. Now it seems the only way Venus will win another title is not to face Serena for it.
Women's tennis has gained more popularity in recent times than any other time in the game's history. From America to Africa, Africa to Europe, Europe to Asia, Asia to Australia and back to the Middle-East the talk on tennis is common.
The talk centres on women's tennis much more than the men's - all because of the Williams sisters. There is no era in the game's history where women's tennis gained so much respect and popularity.
It's probably better to say that men's tennis is moving in the shadows of the fame drawn by the women's.
For those of you who speak against the Williams sisters, ask yourself this question; would I be happy to see them in the final if they were my sisters? I hope you like or hate them for what they do, not their colour. Long live the Williams sisters and family.
I'm so disappointed that Venus just let it slip away like that. She has what it takes to beat her younger sister Serena. What is even more painful about her performance is that Serena was not on her best form.
Everybody saw in this tournament that Venus had an edge and it was even clear at the doubles final; Serena's performance nearly cost them the title. Next time she should make sure she's mentally ready to face off with Serena.
It will be interesting to see Serena unbeaten this year, this is almost certainly a mirage. But to dethrone this gifted player as world number one could be difficult.
Tennis lovers should be content watching the most exciting female tennis player remain in her best of form. As it is all I can say in thanks, Serena, for an exciting Aussie Open.
F1 had to do some drastic things to save the sport. Women's tennis better do it too before it is to late for them. I know money makes the game spin, but the "seed" system will kill the game. As long as the sisters are "protected" by the draw, and their father, the only thing good about it is my business with my bookie.
It is really disappointing that people like Jika and Jude can classify the Williams sisters' final game as boring. The fact remains, boring or not, they are the best women's tennis has to offer.
I am really proud of the two sisters. At their early stages they were a nightmare, now they are reigning. I don't think they fix their matches as some people claim. This is their time, keep it up Williams.
I didn't watch the final, and don't ever plan to watch a Williams/Williams final. Far too boring to watch two players with such one dimensional games playing with the sole intention of running down and killing every ball that comes over the net.
What's happened to the slice backhand or the moon ball? Fair play to the Williams sisters, it wins matches, but you won't get me watching.
Initially, when Venus seemed to have an edge over Serena, we were told it was all fixed up by the father. Again that Serena has been emerging victorious the same boring conspiracy theory seems to be emerging. How inconsistent and boring these remarks have become.
People should learn to give credit to the Williams' sisters, no matter who wins.
They are intelligent and strong sportswomen that have raised women's tennis to a level never known before.
I heard comments at the end of what was, quite frankly the greatest tennis tournament for a good ten years that the crowd don't get into a Williams sisters match.
I feel that that is because they are the two most humble, lovely and gracious players that the tour has known.
After Venus won Wimbledon, the family dedicated themselves to touring inner city England. Not many previous champions made it to Gateshead.
I cant believe the ignorance of so many writers on this page. You want a different final? Then get some ladies out there that can actually muscle the ball over the net.
The Williams sisters have saved women's "boring" tennis by taking it to a whole new level. They makes the "wannabe models" like Kournikova look like they should change profession. Imagine a Kournikova v Serena finals......wouldn't that be an anti climax final?
Give people the credit they deserve and stop forever being a critic. If you want a game worth watching, then go fix one. This is the way its going to be for a while. Deal with it.
I think Venus will win, only because Serena has had a more gruelling time of it. She must be tired and might have a small fear of her big sister. Nothing is more competitive than sibling rivalry, especially when the younger is beating the older.
I wish someone would topple the Williams sisters. At the start it was fun but now it's so boring. Personally I think it's fixed. In the last three Grand Slam finals, Venus has played really badly, making errors, double faults etc. I'd rather see Venus take it than Serena; she's so arrogant and big-headed.
I am in strong support of Serena, but this time around I think Venus will win.
I can't understand those who say that a final between the two best players in the World is an anti-climax. Who would pass up a chance to watch Navratilova v Evert, McEnroe v Connors etc. It's great to see the two sisters in the final and I hope Venus prevails this time!
This time, Venus is at her sensational best, I have a bet with my wife that there is not going to be any Tiger Woods slam or Serena slam. I should give credit to her for beating the boisterous and loquacious Kim Clijsters. But this time, Venus is going home with the trophy.
It pains me to hear all this talk of the sisters final being an anticlimax. Funny we did not hear this when Graf, Hingis and Navratilova were consistently in finals and winning. They are simply the best at this moment.
The others need to find a way to win and stop moaning - with her sub-par performance Serena can still beat Kim. Well done sisters - keep it going.
Another final, another boring Williams nonsense. When are we going to see a final that does not feature these two? The women's tour has never being so boring. Honestly if this goes on like this WTA will lose it's appeal.
I think the organisers should make a draw that makes these sisters meet somewhere in the course of the tournaments and not in the final. The WTA has become a big joke. I won't care to see the final.
Fair play to the sisters, but this is getting a tad boring. After playing with such guts and determination against Davenport, Henin-Hardenne simply seemed to lay down when the going got tough.
And Clijsters, great effort against Serena but a bit of a choke from 5-1 up in the third. The other girls have to play the sisters like Loit did against Serena in round one, like they have something to prove. No-one seems to believe they can beat the sisters.
As for the winner...I've tossed my coin and it came out tails, so Serena it is!
I think it is great they are both in the final. The best two players in the world. So much jealously and pressure externally they are very strong individuals and have a family so tight.
Of course people are waiting for them to slip up...but will it ever really happen? I think not. Congrats to both. They are both winners.
Honestly, who cares? Am I the only one that's getting incredibly bored of the whole thing? Yes they're good but are they really worth watching? I don't think so. Now a Clijsters-Henin-Hardenne final...
I salute Serena and Venus. The pair are carving trenches in the history of tennis that may never be filled. Folks you are witnessing a great and spectacular moment in tennis, enjoy it whilst is lasts!
Watching both Serena and Kim in the earlier rounds, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Kim would prevail when they met. Many people are repeating the same misjudgement now by concluding that Venus will beat Serena. I'll give it to Serena.
I'll put my money on Venus. She has shown terrific form and composure throughout the tournament. And without necessarily discounting Serena putting up a good fight, Venus remains hungrier for a Grand Slam than her sister.
I do think that Serena is the greatest player on the tennis court now. She proved that against Kim. It is going to take a lot from other players including Venus to dislodge this form she is in. Big up lady.
A William's final again? I hear people say. The women's seeding process seems to have been perfect, the top 5 were in the last 4. The 1st and 2nd seeds are in the final, as it should be in the ideal world.
The other ladies had 6 chances to beat either of the Williams' and none were up to it. They are the best in the world, that they are sisters is just academic. I see Venus taking back the mantle.
Wow!! What can you say. If Serena can pull off a win when she is down and out to all intents and purposes, she can do anything. She hasn't played particularly well this tournament, but somehow she has managed to come through it.
Venus is in better shape at the moment, but because she respects Serena's game, I think her game might falter. It will be nice for Serena to complete her slam, but if she doesn't, she will be losing to the only person she would rather lose to in this world.
Whatever the outcome, very well done to these two wonderful, record setting girls!
Why is this seen as an anticlimax? The two top seeds are in the final. Who should we have Serena play - the number 1000 seed? That would be exciting!
Another Grand Slam Final featuring both of the Williams' sisters. Another anticlimax to a great tournament.
I am positive Venus can stop Serena. On the other hand, it is very difficult to discount Serena having seen her beat opponents without playing particularly well, a sign of a great champion I guess.
What I am happy about is the fact that people have finally come to realize that matches between the two aren't decided beforehand. These great players deserve the respect of all tennis fans and I hope they are getting it at last.
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