At the start of 2017, sisters Venus and Serena Williams battled each other in the finals at the Australian Open. They were sisters, and in that moment, they were also competitors.
Now, almost seven months later, a pregnant Serena watches on as her sister battles into her second Grand Slam final of the year, smiling with pride as she reflects on the journey Venus has traveled to achieve this level.
“I’m proud of her, everyone is proud of her. She’s such an amazing person, and she’s so nice, and she’s been through a lot obviously, but we are always rooting for her,” Serena told Yahoo Sports.
The road to the finals hasn’t been easy for the oldest Williams sister, and Serena recognizes the challenges that Venus has gone through. Diagnosed with Sjögrens Syndrome in 2011, Venus has had to withdraw from tournaments in the past due to injury, illness and fatigue associated with her disease, but she has continued to push her body to its potential, Serena said.
“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 realize 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.”
Venus also recently experienced additional media attention and scrutiny regarding a car accident in Palm Beach Springs, Florida. Initial reports from the accident suggesting that Venus was at fault for a crash that led to the death of another passenger, but later police video revealed that Venus would not be blamed by the police for the crash. When asked about the car accident in the press conference after her first win at Wimbledon, Venus became emotional and simply told reporters that she was “devastated” and speechless.
Venus, seeded No. 10 in the tournament, will face No. 14 Garbine Muguruza the finals of Wimbledon on Saturday, and when Serena was asked if her sister will leave London a champion, her answer was simple.
“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,” Serena said.