venus takes wimbledon for the 4th time

Posted on July 7, 2007


What the Williams sisters want, the Williams sisters get.

After watching Serena win at this year’s Australian Open, Venus decided that she wanted to win this year’s Wimbledon, which she had already conquered three other times in 2000, 2001 and 2005.

It was no easy task. She was ranked 31st in the world and had hardly played last year and this, plagued by a wrist injury.

But you’d be foolish to bet against any of the Williams women.

AP photo

Because Venus got what she wanted today, beating France’s surprise finalist Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-1 to take the Wimbledon championship. Venus become the lowest-seeded player to raise the Venus Rosewater Dish and picked up a cool $1.4 million in prize money for her efforts. Venus’ run in Wimbledon is strongly reminiscent of her little sister Serena’s journey to unexpectedly win at Melbourne.

In Wimbledon, it’s apparent that Venus is totally comfortable there and showed just why she’s the world’s best grass court player. With her back against the wall in various occasions in the early rounds, Venus was able to rally and come back, ultimately beating those who had given her a tough time.

And she just got better as she proceeded through the rounds, unleashing her fearsome power, powerful serve and groundstrokes onto her opponents. She had been winning in straight sets since the fourth round of this tournament, downing other better-fancied players like Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Venus now is behind all-time greats like Martina Navratilova (9 championships), Steffi Graf (7 wins) and Billie Jean King (6 wins). More remarkably, Venus had never won those titles with a number one ranking. She was ranked 16th when she won the Wimbledon title in 2005, the lowest previous ranking for a champion. Which probably tells us that rankings have nothing on talent and iron will.

“Williams, Wimbledon, starts with W,” Venus told ESPN. “We just take Wimbledon so seriously, Serena and I do. We urge ourselves along. We’d see Pete Sampras winning. We just have traditions here [that] we do when we get here.”

But after the 27-year old Venus’ win here, there’s the question of the future of the women’s game. It’s in a state of flux, with most of the women, except Justine Henin, not having the consistency to dominate and constantly appear in the last few rounds of games. The fact is that the top ranks lack the depth, such that older players like Venus and Serena can afford to play sparingly but still come out during the Majors and win.

There’s been a crop of new, young players in their late teens and early twenties, such as Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Michaella Krajicek and Nicole Vaidisova. They should set up to the plate quickly and establish a stronger core of top women’s tennis players for the sake of the game.