NEW YORK, Aug 13: Well, this sure is a fine way for tennis to herald its return after the pandemic-caused hiatus: Serena Williams vs Venus Williams.
The siblings meet each other for the 31st time when they take the court at a WTA tournament in Kentucky on Thursday.
�It�s so special,� Venus said. �Here we go again.�
It�s a chance for the two former No. 1-ranked women and owners of 30 Grand Slam singles titles between them (23 for Serena; seven for her older sister) to gauge where their games are following about six months away from the sport � and a chance for tennis fans to remember what they�ve been missing while the tours were suspended because of the coronavirus.
�I haven�t played in forever, so I want to play the best players,� Venus said with a laugh, then added: �And I think I got my wish in playing Serena.�
So what if there are no spectators allowed at the hard-court event because of the coronavirus outbreak? So what if it�s happening at a low-key, brand-new tournament, where traffic can be seen driving back and forth on a street behind the court? And so what if it�s merely in the second round, rather than with a trophy at stake?
Sure, all in all, this will be a far way from the sorts of stages that have hosted these two stars in the past, including nine Williams vs Williams matchups in Grand Slam singles finals, including four in a row from 2002-03.
Serena leads the rivalry 7-2 in those contests, and 18-12 overall.
�I feel like I always play Venus in every single tournament, first or second round,� Serena said after needing to put together a comeback to beat 60th-ranked Bernarda Pera 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in her opening match in Kentucky and first anywhere since February. � AP