Issued on • Modified
Venus Williams aims at historic Wimbledon victory
Venus Williams believes her big game experience will prove decisive on the road to victory. The American star bids to become the oldest Grand Slam champion in today's Wimbledon final against Garbine Muguruza.
At an age when her contemporaries have long since retired, Williams is playing some of the best tennis of her glittering career and she can cap her remarkable renaissance on Centre Court this weekend.
Back in the All England Club final after an eight-year absence, the 37-year-old hopes to become both the oldest Wimbledon and major winner since the Open era began in 1968.
"There's times where maybe you aren't as relaxed as other moments, but it's about handling it. I know how to do that a lot better," said Venus ahead of her 16th major final. "For me it's just about betting on myself every time. When I look across the net, I don't think it's the right mentality to believe in that person more than me."
Earning a sixth Wimbledon title, nine years after she last lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish, must have seemed like an impossible dream for Williams when she battled an autoimmune disease that left her fatigued and threatened to force her out of tennis.
Yet, in the twilight of her career, Venus has hit a rich vein of form over the last 12 months.
She was Australian Open runner-up in January to sister Serena, only to have her life thrown into turmoil last month when she was accidently involved in a car crash in Florida that led to the death of an elderly man.
A less strong-willed personality would have gone into hiding, but Venus, after choking back tears when asked about the incident at the start of Wimbledon, has taken solace in her tennis.
Having crushed Johanna Konta with a masterful semi-final victory that made her the oldest Wimbledon finalist for 23 years, Venus admitted she is relishing her return to prominence when many had written her off.
With Serena absent from Wimbledon while she prepares to have her first child later this year, Venus has seized the opportunity to impose her ferocious will to win on a series of opponents almost half her age.
Now she will lean on Serena for advice on how to vanquish former French Open champion Muguruza, who lost to Venus's sister in the Wimbledon final two years ago.
Inspired by her decision to hire compatriot Conchita Martinez as her temporary coach for Wimbledon, Muguruza has enjoyed a revival of her own over the last fortnight.
Since winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open last year, Muguruza had endured something of a sophomore slump as her ranking dropped out of the top 10.
Beating in-form Venus in their first meeting on grass will be her toughest test, but the Spanish 14th seed is convinced she can emulate her coach's memorable triumph.