Yesterday, when I wrote about the final 4, I used my heart, rather than my head to pick Venus over Coco. As a Venus fan for most of my tennis life (as long as Venus has been playing tennis), I usually pick Venus over everyone else. Publicly I am an ardent Venus fan, but privately I never thought I would see Venus in the final of a Grand Slam ever again. I have been one of those fans who doubted that she would ever be a factor in winning tennis’ biggest titles and there were times when I wished for her to retire gracefully and become either a coach or perhaps run the WTA.
I am happy to admit that I was wrong.
Because I had to work, I went to bed after the first set. I was devastated that after playing so well during the whole tournament, never losing a set, she would lose a set in the biggest match of the tournament for her. I went to bed with a heavy heart. However, I could not sleep, so I grabbed my phone and started score boarding. When I saw that she was up 4-1 in the second set, I smiled. I fist pumped and silently said ‘come on Venus’. Watching the score board with my little tennis watching buddy beside me, I felt heartened when I saw that she managed to win the second set.
I wondered to myself should I get up and watch the rest of the match. It was now going 1:00 a.m. in the morning and I had to try and get some sleep. I wrestled with that decision but ultimately sleep won. It was restless and I got up again and checked the score and saw that Serena was up an early break in her match. I switched to completed matches and saw that Venus won 6-3 in the third. My heart raced and I became overwhelmed. I checked my Twitter feed and was greeted by this moment
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>I love Venus Williams' unbridled joy at reaching another grand slam final — her 1st in 8 years — at age 36 <a href=”https://t.co/YmLapywyo0″>pic.twitter.com/YmLapywyo0</a></p>— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BraddJaffy/status/824496380991434752″>January 26, 2017</a></blockquote>
The unbridled joy. I saw the hair on her arms stand up. The smile. The holding of her heart. I have never seen Venus this happy to win a tennis match as she seemed to be here. All the hard work. All the disappointments. All the doubts. All the fears. All of these vanquished. I admit that I have never seen Venus drop a racquet, but drop it she did.
While watching the replay in its entirety this morning, on her fourth match point, there was silence in the Tennis Channel booth. I believe Lindsay Davenport was in tears. Mary Carillo who always seems to have something to say was left dumbfounded. That is the impact that Venus Williams, at 36 years old gave to folks upon reaching the Australian Open final. For her troubles she faces her younger sister Serena Williams.
It seems as if Serena is always playing for some historical moment or another. The last time they met, which was the 2015 US Open, Serena was going for the calendar year grand slam. This year she is seeking to regain the No. 1 ranking and bag her 23rd Grand Slam title.
Serena looked devastatingly good in her last 2 matches. She outplayed Lucic-Baroni in every facet of the game, much like she did against Konta. I expect that she will perhaps do the same to her big sister, but I am hoping against all hope that Venus will finally be able to lift the Daphne Arhurst trophy for the first time in her outstanding career.
Venus over Serena in 3 tough sets