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Tracy Austin on Venus v Serena

TracyAustin
By Tracy Austin
Two-time US Open champion

I expect Venus and Serena to have a good match on Saturday because they are both playing good tennis.

Everybody wants to talk about their matches not being that close and not being that great, but a lot of Grand Slam finals are like that. Look at the recent French Open and US Open finals.

VENUS WILLIAMS
Venus Williams
Age 28
Ranking 7
Titles 36
Grand Slams 6
Wimbledon titles 4

Many Grand Slams go by without spectacular matches, but everyone wants to blame the Williams sisters.

There is so much emotion surrounding their encounters and that's probably why we don't get tremendous finals, but I don't think we can isolate their matches, you have to put them in the context of all the other Grand Slam finals.

The other thing that keeps coming up is whether the results of their matches are somehow pre-determined by the family.

It was so silly for Elena Dementieva to even bring that up with some remarks - which she later retracted - in her press conference.

It's just unfortunate because the only person who looks bad is Dementieva.

Earlier this year, Venus and Serena played each other in Bangalore. They both had a match point and Serena eventually won it 7-6 in the third.

They were both busting a gut to win - and they will be on Saturday.

I'm calling it as 51 to 49 in Serena's favour in the final.

It's so close you almost have to flip a coin, but for me, Serena is serving incredibly well. She had 13 aces and 30-40 unreturnable serves against Zheng Jie in the semi-final.

SERENA WILLIAMS
Serena Williams
Age 26
Ranking 6
Titles 31
Grand Slams 8
Wimbledon titles 2

The biggest strength for both of them is their serve. What they like about grass is that they can get that first strike in and the points aren't going to go on and on for 11, 12 and 13 shots as they do at the French Open.

Venus, for me, is a little bit better at the net. She just knows where to stand, covers the court and her technique is better.

But I think Serena's serve is better. It's a serve you can count on. I like her motion, it doesn't break down where as in the past we've seen Venus' second serve break down.

They both move so well, it's tough to give either of them an edge on that, but if you really made me it might just be Venus who is slightly better on this surface.

Both of their games just work perfectly for grass. In 2003, we thought they would be in every final for years but Serena hasn't even been to a semi-final here since she got to the final in 2004.

It's great to see them back there. They are huge crossover stars. It's not just tennis fans that appreciate them, the general public know them like a Maria Sharapova, a Boris Becker or a John McEnroe.

They've been criticised in the past for their outside interests but it's those things that have possibly kept them interested in the sport for this long.

Venus is 28 now and she started out when she was 14 so she's been out there for half a lifetime.

You look at Andre Agassi's career. He had extended periods of time when he was out and that probably lengthened his career. It might be the same for the Williams sisters.

They've had periods where they have been injured and they have both been out for eight months. When you are out that long, you really get the bug that you want to get back and compete.

Tracy Austin was talking to Paul Birch.


see also
Wimbledon day 10 as it happened
03 Jul 08 |  Tennis


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