Serena Williams is looking to win her 23rd Grand Slam title at the Australian open, breaking the record she shares with Steffi Graf, but there’s only one obstacle to her winning it: her sister Venus.
The siblings, arguably the two best tennis players in the world, will face each other in the final on Saturday. If Serena, 35, wins, she stands to gain back the no. 1 ranking she lost during the U.S. Open semifinal. Venus herself is also on a comeback trek of sorts, returning to a major final for the first time since she last met her sister, losing to her at the 2009 Wimbledon Grand Slam final.
The two will be meeting each other on the professional court for the 28th time in their careers.
“I just feel like no matter what happens, we’ve won,” Serena said. “A Williams is going to win this tournament.”
The all-Williams final will be the first in Melbourne since 2003, when Serena won what Venus has described as a “battle royale.”
Venus hasn’t returned to the Australian final since then. And when she walked out onto Rod Laver Arena, it will be as the oldest player in the Open era to contest an Australian Open women’s final. She’ll be the oldest finalist at any major since Martina Navratilova’s run to the Wimbledon final in 1994.
Venus has lost six of her eight Grand Slam finals against her younger sister, and is 11-16 overall in their tour-level career matches. But Serena noted that nobody has beaten her more than her older sister — their sibling rivalry is friendly, but goes a long way back.
“When I’m playing on the court with her, I think I’m playing, like, the best competitor in the game,” Venus said. “I don’t think I’m chump change, either. I can compete against any odds. No matter what.
Image: Associated Press