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History in the Making as Venus and Serena Face Off in the Australian Open

Some of the greatest moments in sports history weren’t predicted; they simply happened, taking our breath away in the process. Take a deep breath right now, and tune into the Australian Open finals to watch Serena Williams and Venus Williams compete for their family’s 30th grand slam title. Yes, between these two sisters, tomorrow’s title will be their 30th one.

That in and of itself is historic, but there’s more. Venus is 36 years old, and Serena is 35, putting their combined age at 71 — the oldest major final ever. In competitive sports, their ages are practically geriatric, but make no mistake, these two athletes have earned their spots.

If Venus wins, it will be her 8th grand slam title — and it will make her the oldest player in the Open era to win a major singles championship. This tournament is Venus’s 73rd major. No one in the Open era can claim that. Not only is she an undeniable talent on the court, she’s worked her way back into the top 20 while fighting an incurable and debilitating autoimmune disease, Sjögren’s syndrome.

If Serena wins, it will be her 23rd major title. This win would put her back in the world’s number one spot, and the win would also give her the distinction of being the oldest number one on record since computerized rankings were introduced in the mid-1970s.

That they’ll be on opposite sides of the net is hardly new, even at the grand slam level. In fact, this will be their 15th grand slam meeting and 9th grand slam face-off. Their first professional match against each other happened on the same Australian court in 1998, adding yet another historic touchpoint to tomorrow’s match. Over the years, they’ve volleyed titles back and forth, with Serena winning a few more than Venus.

If you look at the numbers and listen to the oddsmakers, Serena is the likelier of the two to win tomorrow. But, if you look at sports history, you know that anything can happen. Either way, history will be made.

Featured Photo: Serena and Venus celebrate winning the women’s doubles at Wimbledon last year. Saturday’s final offers a showcase of the sisters’ extraordinary longevity. Photograph: Steve Paston/PA

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