Sibling Rivalry


[CR1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [CR16] Venus Williams (USA)

Their rivalry dates back to 1998, when they met in the second round of the Australian Open. That first professional tennis match was won by Venus.  However, the rivalry may have existed before then, as siblings have a tendency to compete against each other. Fast forward to 2015, since then they have competed against each other an additional 24 times. Serena has the slight advantage, leading their head-to-head 14:11.  Their last encounter was in Montreal in 2014, won by Venus 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-3.  Serena has a 3:2 lead at Wimbledon; however, the earliest they met was in the semi-finals, won by Venus.

I am a very competitive person, I want to win and it matters not if it’s my sister.  Yet, I understand how difficult it is for the sisters to play each other. Ambivalence fuels their matches, the desire to win yet not wanting to defeat your sister, someone you love dearly.  It makes their matches difficult to watch because you see the discomfort they feel at battling each other. I watched every match they have played against each other, and I am not convinced they have ever played with complete abandon.  They are hesitant in attacking their shots, almost apologetic when they get carried away and actually hit a winner.

Today’s match could be interesting.  Serena will be battling the emotions stemming from playing against her older sister; the psychological stress of going for her 21st Major title; and tension at the prospect of getting one step closer to her first calendar Grand Slam. We saw her almost completely unravel on Friday against Heather Watson. Will this be their best competition ever or will it be another stilted performance? Venus only has to battle the emotions associated with playing against her sister. Which sister will win this encounter?

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