On Saturday morning, sisters Serena and Venus Williams faced off in the Australian Open final. It was at this tournament that the two sisters first went up against each other in1998, back when they were both teenagers, and they've come along way since then. While Venus took the win back in '98, Serena was the favorite and winner today, another stop along her career trajectory which has only skyrocketed upwards in the last 19 years.
She didn't know it while playing, but Serena's victory put her back at number one in the world for women's tennis, a title that she lost back in September after nearly three years at the top. It also means that she's now won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, just one shy of the world record set by Margaret Court (look out Margaret, she's comin' for ya), the New York Times reports. When the announcer introduced her as number one in the world as she took the stage to give her victory speech, Serena shrugged shyly, seemingly stunned that her win had brought her back up to the pinnacle.
Then, her speech melted all hearts everywhere, as she touchingly dedicated her incredibly successful career to her sister. "There's no way I would be at 23 without her, there's no way I would be at one without her, there's no way I would have anything without her," Serena said, cradling her trophy. "She's my inspiration, she's the only reason I'm standing here today and the only reason the Williams sisters exist."
It's bound to be incredibly emotional to play your sister time and time again over the course of your career. The competitive spirit that pushed the two of them to become world-class athletes and destroy their opponents, at times, must be turned against each other. And it happens on the world stage. As a viewer, it feels as if we're watching something sacred and intimate play out between these two women; it's a sibling rivalry turned into a dramatic, high-stakes event.
Venus, addressed Serena in her speech as well. "Congratulations Serena on No. 23. I have been there right with you. Some of them I lost right there against you. I guess that’s weird, but it’s been an awesome thing. Your win has always been my win. I think you know that." It must be difficult to watch your little sister grow up to outperform you, but Venus' gracious spirit coupled with Serena's deep appreciation for her bond with her sister allowed for the match to transcend being just a game of tennis. It feels like a true privilege and honor to watch the two of them play, to witness their excellence.
You can watch Serena's speech here to experience all the sisterly love yourself: