The Williams sisters are old. Tennis old. Like, old in the tennis world. Venus just turned 31, and Serena will be 30 years old in September.
Pair that elderly tennis status with trying to get their bodies to respond after lengthy injury absences, and you have a recipe for more injury, or failure at best. Having to win seven matches over the next two weeks would be tough for any body. (Get it? Any body? Anybody? Give it a minute).
But Kim Clijsters is out of Wimbledon, Justine Henin is retired (again), and besides Maria Sharapova, Vera Zvonareva and the red-hot Daniela Hantuchova, there aren’t a lot of threats in this year’s draw at the All England Club. And that makes it a Williams sister’s world during the next two weeks, despite the now-healed injuries.
“I feel like we’ve been on a similar road together,” Serena said of her and Venus. “Her road hasn’t been as arduous or as long as mine, but I know what she’s been through coming back. We’ve been really enjoying our time just getting back together and practicing next to her and looking over and seeing her play so well. I’m like, ‘OK, I’ve got to do better.”‘
In their one grasscourt warm-up both lost to quality opponents: Serena to Zvonareva, and Venus to Hantuchova, who has already reached a grasscourt final this year.
Did I mention world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki is the No. 1 seed? Talk about under the radar.
In the top quarter the Woz could meet the free-swinging Indian Sania Mirza in the second round, which would be a ticket seller. The No. 5 seed Sharapova is also in this section, and she starts against another Russian, Anna Chakvetadze. No. 24 seed Dominika Cibulkova will open up against Mirjana Lucic. Wozniacki vs. Sharapova in the quarters would be a good one, which Sharapova would probably power through.
French Open winner Li Na is the top seed in the second quarter, in with the No. 7-seeded Serena. Li is looking an a second-round meeting with German wildcard Sabine Lisicki, who won a grasscourt warm-up this year. Serena starts against Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai, with No. 26 Maria Kirilenko lurking in the third round.
The third quarter has No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka, but all eyes will be on the first-round match of No. 6 Francesca Schiavone vs. Jelena Dokic. Hantuchova is also in this section, and will play a qualifier in her first two rounds.
The No. 2 seed Zvonareva anchors the bottom section, arguably the toughest with Venus Williams, former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic and multi-Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. Zvonareva will start against American Alison Riske, and Jankovic against the entertaining Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
One of the Williams sisters have lifted the Wimbledon trophy in nine of the last 11 years, which is unbelievable. If anyone can play their way into a Slam it is the Williams sisters — it’s just a matter of who wants it more, and if the Zvonarevas, Sharapovas and Wozniackis can make it far enough to meet one of the sisters — who history has shown have always wanted it more.
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