2002: the year tennis redefined the term sibling rivalry

Christmas dinner must’ve been awkward around the Williams household in 2002, with younger sister, Serena, the proud winner of three of the four Grand Slam titles – you would’ve bet on the now-35-year-old to have made it a clean sweep had she not missed the Australian Open through injury.

Serena’s impressive haul of three titles had a bizarre quirk to it: she beat the same person in every final. The opponent? Older sister, Venus.

There’s always been that family mentality of both girls being happy and excited for one another, and their watching parents hating and loving, in equal measure, their daughters facing off against each another – there’s currently a petition to get the Williams’ parents inducted into the tennis Hall of Fame, for raising and coaching two of the game’s finest.

However, behind closed doors, such is the mentality of an athlete, it must’ve been hard for the girls to stomach some of the defeats – especially Venus, who is usually on the receiving end, with the current record from their 28 matches, 17-11 in Serena’s favour.

SEE ALSO: Nick Kyrgios: the renegade that tennis needs

The 2002 French Open kicked off Serena’s remarkable year – emulating Martina Hingis in 1997, in winning three Grand Slams. Venus had come out on top in their only other meeting in a Grand Slam final, winning the 2001 US Open.

A relatively dour encounter ended up with the third-ranked seed winning 7-5, 6-3. But Serena was far from happy with just the Roland Garos string to her bow.

“At the beginning of the year, I told myself I don’t care what else happens this year, I want to win Wimbledon,”

Serena Williams

And that’s just what the 20-year-old did in 2002, preventing her sister from making it a hat-trick of Wimbledon titles, in a convincing 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory.

Serena’s dominance of the tennis circuits in 2002 reached its grand conclusion, dismantling with relative ease, her sister, in the US Open 6–4, 6–3, meaning Serena hadn’t dropped a single set in any of the Grand Slam finals. Remarkable.

Interestingly, although Serena has now gone on to dominate the women’s tennis field, the American superstar only won five of the next 24 Grand Slam titles, before going on to win 39% of all Grand Slams from 2009 to the present day.

The fact that if the sisters had managed to win 39% of all Grand Slams from 2009, between them, would’ve been impressive, highlights the superiority of Serena. And you have the ask whether Venus, although an impressive talent, would’ve been as fondly remembered by the world of tennis had it not been for her association with Serena – 15 Grand Slam finals, but just the seven victories, sees the American joint-12th in the all-time Grand Slam titles list.

Either way, not a bad gene pool.

Start the discussion

to comment