Tennis

Serena backs sister's bid for sixth crown

Venus fires warning to Muguruza 
saying that she is playing 'amazing' tennis

Serena Williams is backing older sister Venus to keep the Wimbledon title in the family for another year when the 37-year-old takes on Spain's Garbine Muguruza in the women's final today.

Venus beat Briton Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-2 on Thursday to reach her ninth Wimbledon final and, Serena, who missed her title defence after becoming pregnant with her first child, believes her sibling can win a sixth All England Club crown.

"I have to believe that and I know she has to believe that. We work so many years for these moments that she has right now, and I'm really happy for her," the 23-time Grand Slam winner told Yahoo Sports.

"I'm proud of her, everyone is proud of her. She's such an amazing person. She's so nice and she's been through a lot obviously, but we are always rooting for her."

Venus has overcome Sjogren's Syndrome and several injuries to reach her first Wimbledon final since 2009, and Serena believes her sister's triumphs inspire others suffering from the auto-immune disease.

"She's been through her illness and she keeps fighting through it, and it would just mean so much, not just for her but for people who suffer what she suffers just to realise that this isn't, this doesn't have to be it," Serena said.

"You can go through what she goes through and still come out on top."

At an age when her contemporaries have long since retired, Venus says she is playing some of the best tennis of her life as she eyes a place in the record books.

Williams, the oldest Wimbledon finalist in 23 years, returns to the All England Club title match after an eight-year absence and will be the oldest Grand Slam champion in the Open era if she beats Spain's Muguruza today.

RICH VEIN OF FORM

In the twilight of her career, Venus has hit a rich vein of form over the last 12 months.

She was Australian Open runner-up in January to Serena, only to have her life thrown into turmoil last month when she was accidently involved in a car crash in Florida that led to the death of an elderly man.

A less strong-willed personality would have gone into hiding but, Venus, after choking back tears when asked about the incident at the start of Wimbledon, has taken solace in her tennis.

"There were definitely some issues, a lot of ups and downs," Venus said.

"I just try to hold my head up high, no matter what is happening in life. In sport, especially, you have injuries. You have illnesses. You're not going to be always playing 100 per cent.

"If I decide to walk out on the court, I try to just compete that day. That's what I try to do."

Ominously for Muguruza, who lost the 2015 Wimbledon final to Serena, the American veteran is certain she is close to the form that saw her dominate the sport a decade ago.

"I've played some good tennis at different points of my life. It's wonderful to have the opportunity to play well and to be strong," said Venus.

"This year has been amazing in terms of my play, playing deep into the big events.

"I'm definitely in the position I want to be in. It's a long two weeks. Now I'm knocking on the door for a title. This is where I want to be."

Since winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open last year, Muguruza had endured something of a sophomore slump as she dropped out of the top 10 in the world rankings.

But the world No. 15 has rediscovered her mojo on grass and would climb into the top five if she wins the final today.

To do that, the 23-year-old must emulate her temporary coach Conchita Martinez's achievement of winning the Wimbledon title when the latter defeated Martina Navratilova in the 1994 final.

"All the names that I read on the honours board, I know all of them. For the last years, you see a lot of the Williams surname," said Muguruza.

"So I look forward to putting a Spanish name back there."

- WIRE SERVICES

YESTERDAY'S RESULT

      Men's singles semi-finals:

  • Marin Cilic bt Sam Querrey 
6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 7-5
WimbledonVenus Williams