Williams sisters out to emulate Gibson
06 July 2002
The Williams sisters have often referred to Althea Gibson as an inspirational force behind their careers and at this year's Wimbledon, Venus and Serena are on course to match at least one of their heroine's achievements.
The Williams could become the first singles finalists to pair up to capture the women's doubles crown at the same championships since their fellow black American Gibson and her compatriot and partner Darlene Hard in 1957.
Venus and Serena are in the final (Reuters)
Twice All England champion Gibson defeated Hard in two sets in the singles final and the duo then teamed up to quash the challenge of Australians Mary Hawton and Thelma Long in the doubles.
Venus and Serena warmed up for Saturday's final by storming through their doubles quarter-finals with a brisk 6-2 6-0 victory over Slovenians Katarina Srebotnik and Tina Krizan on Friday.
"It's normal to be nervous before a grand slam final but we've learned a long time ago not to let it hold us back," said Venus, who is aiming to complete a hat-trick of Wimbledon singles crowns on Saturday.
However, younger sister Serena was preparing for her first women's final at the All England with far more confidence.
"I really don't experience butterflies. I never really get nervous, I just go out there and play," said Serena, seeded third in the doubles competition with Venus.
The siblings tasted success in the doubles arena here two years ago when they thrashed France's Julie Halard-Decugis and Ai Sugiyama of Japan in the final with the loss of only five games.
Serena, 20, said doubles matches provide them with a much needed distraction from the rigours and strains of the tension filled singles tour.
"We're just having so much fun out there when we're both on court," said Serena, who will leap-frog Venus as world number one in the singles' rankings when they are issued on Monday.
"We just laugh and giggle. It's not as serious because we take singles more seriously.
"It's just a more relaxing environment out there because you're out there with your best friend and it actually helps us play better."
GOD BLESS ALTHEA GIBSON. WHAT AN INSPIRATION.