Sisters gunning for Roland Garros
Thursday, April 30, 2009
By Myrtille Rambion
Venus and Serena Williams have shared the Grand Slams between them since Wimbledon 2008 and now have Roland Garros well and truly in their sights. With a smile and a knowing look, Serena Williams savoured the way she was once again stirring up the assembled journalists at a press conference. "Venus and I are trying to do the Grand Slam between us
," she announced. "It's a family project
." With Wimbledon and the US and the Australian Opens, three of the four major titles found their way almost as a matter of course into the Serena and Venus Williams trophy cabinet in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida in the space of six months. This rich vein of form began right after the French Open last year, when the sisters contested the final at Wimbledon (before winning the doubles a few hours later).
"Roland Garros is a real priority" (Serena Williams)
"Venus and Serena were really affected by their early exits at Roland Garros
," explained their elder sister Isha a few hours before their showdown on the centre court of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. "It was a real disappointment for both of them, and they've been working really hard to put it behind them
." After her third round exit at the hands of Katarina Srebotnik in Paris last May, Serena has been saying in recent months that "Roland Garros is a real priority this year. I was really disappointed and upset with myself. If I win here, it will wipe the slate clean from 2008
Having lost in the same round to Flavia Pennetta, Venus is equally as determined to put things right. "Last year I had some personal problems
," she explained, "but that was last year. This time around, things are going to be totally different
." So women's tennis be warned: after a 2006 season ruined by injuries, the Williams sisters are back to their very best. At the time, they took a virtual sabbatical to concentrate on outside interests – interior design for Venus and Hollywood for Serena. Since then however, they have put these projects on hold (temporarily) to devote all their energies to tennis once again.
Repeat of 2002?
"Yes, I have taken on some outside projects which I concentrate on when I'm not on court
, explained Serena who has recently launched a handbag and jewellery line."It just means that I have to be organised. But if you ask me what my real passion is, I'll tell you, it's tennis. And if you ask me what my profession is, I'll say tennis player!
" "What I do best is playing tennis
," continued Venus, "and while I'm still good enough to beat any opponent, I'll carry on. I'm enjoying it more and more. It's fantastic to feel that you're the best in a particular domain and I want to have that feeling for a good few years to come.
Clay is far from being the Williams' favourite surface however, but despite not having a game suited to this slowest of courts, their intensity and sheer will-power have already seen them scale the heights in Paris. In 2002, Serena won her only ever French Open title, beating none other than Venus in the final. Now that the two of them are back to their best and with Serena also spending time back at the top of the rankings, who is to say that history will not repeat itself, but perhaps with a different sister coming out on top? "Serena may be my sister but when we're out on court, I'm there to win. I don't give anyone anything
," stated Venus. The "family project
" looks like running for a while yet…