Williams glad to be still 'touching lives' at the age of 37

Williams proves that she can still be an inspiration to others at the age of 37

She was at the crossroads of her tennis career when she was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, a strength-sapping ailment, in 2011.

Six years on and Venus Williams is on the cusp of reaching a third Grand Slam final of the year after finishing runner-up at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

The 37-year-old American defeated Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2) in the quarter-finals yesterday morning (Singapore time) to become the oldest US Open semi-finalist and the oldest in any Grand Slam since Martina Navratilova in 1994 at Wimbledon.

If she beats compatriot Sloane Stephens tomorrow morning to reach Saturday's final, Williams will reach her third Slam final of the year, a feat she last achieved in 2002.


"Early 2000s, I had perfect health. It was great. I loved it," said ninth seed Williams, who hopes compatriots Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Keys will join her and Stephens in the semi-finals.

"I was fortunate to have that moment in my life and, now, I'm still living my dream, and it's amazing."

After she was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, it took the seven-time Major champion five years before she managed to reach another Grand Slam semi-final.

"I don't accept limitations. So it took a while to accept some limitations," Williams said.

"But it doesn't mean that the glass is half empty. I saw it as half full. Whatever I had, I had to do the best I could with that."

Williams pondered how many WTA players have had to overcome setbacks and return to champion form and the inspiration it can provide.

"Sport is a little microcosm of life and it shows the human spirit, just being out there on the court, fighting against all odds. If you're down, you keep going," said Williams, who is set to jump into the top five in the world rankings for the first time since January 2011.

"Great champions came back from injuries or circumstances they could never have planned for. It's very encouraging for people to watch... You never know whose life you'll touch just by being your best."

Now in the twilight of an illustrious career, the opportunities Williams lives for are not supposed to come around as often as they once did.

But she battled and grabbed her chances when they came yesterday morning, capitalising on just enough of them to secure the win over Kvitova.

"Sometimes you have opportunities and sometimes you take them, but it's not like you get opportunity after opportunity after opportunity in these sorts of matches," said Williams, whose last Grand Slam title came at Wimbledon in 2008.

"You have to take the ones you have."

Meanwhile, Kvitova admitted after her loss to Williams that she might never win another Grand Slam title again.

"I'm glad that I am still able to compete on a high level against the top players," said Kvitova, the 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion.

"I'm not sure about winning Grand Slams. Of course, that's why I'm playing tennis... Is a big motivation.

"But I'm grounded and I know it's a lot of work. This was a quarter-final, but I know how tough it is to win a Grand Slam.

"It was pretty close but, pretty far, as well." - WIRE SERVICES


Men's singles quarter-finals

  • Kevin Anderson (x28) bt Sam Querrey (x17) 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (9/11), 6-3, 7-6 (9/7)
  • Pablo Carreno Busta (x12) bt Diego Schwartzman (x29) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2

Women's singles quarter-finals

  • Venus Williams (x9) bt Petra Kvitova (x13) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2)
  • Sloane Stephens bt Anastasija Sevastova (x16) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4)
TennisUS OPENVenus Williams