Old is still gold and its nostalgia time at Australian Open (Preview)
Melbourne, Jan 28 (IANS) When two sisters, both above 35, clash in the final of a Grand Slam where, for some time, new starlets with their toned bodies and psychedelic dresses strutted their stuff, what does it say of the game?
That tennis is all about the resilience and strategy? About bringing out some old tricks from memory and laying out some lessons for the upstarts?
Such questions are being discussed in the beer-soaked Melbourne Park arena where, in the women’s final on Saturday, and in the men’s final on Sunday, four old timers, so to say, recovering from injuries and other personal agonies, are trying to push the boundaries of human achievement and vying for the singles titles.
If you add the men’s doubles, where the Bryan twins (35) will be featuring, it may appear to some that this arena is also a revitalising spa with magical fountains from where the elixir of youth spouts.
When Venus Williams 36, plays Serena Williams 35, it will be the oldest such final in women’s tennis history. Serena is competing for her 23rd title and her elder sister for her 8th, having won her first title at Wimbledon in 2000.
Venus has been written off and forgotten for a long time and her resurgence here is nothing but a slice of fantasy.
She outclassed her rivals Katerina Kozlova, Stefanie Voegele, Duan Yingying and Mona Barthel without dropping a set. She lost a set to the rising start Coco Vandeweghe in the semi-final.
Turning completely philosophical, Venus said when asked about her career: “It’s triumph and disaster witnessed in real time. That is why people live and die for sport, because you can’t fake it. People relate to the champion. They also relate to the person who didn’t win because we all have those moments in life.”
Venus knows that she is the underdog in this match-up against her sister, because Serena holds too many guns, is more powerful and can turn it on at will.
Head-to-head Serena is 16-11 up, but who knows, the elder sister might pull out some old tricks, a scorching forehand pass, perhaps?
Serena has displayed a sense of achievement few in the world can. She is at the top of the world and she knows that. “I don’t have to win another match as long as I live. I don’t have to prove anything,” she said about the final match.
On her way to the finals Serena made short work of Belena Bencic, Lucie Safarova, Nicole Gibbs, Barbora Strycova, Johanna Konta and Lucic-Baroni.
Seeing her play is actually to see a demolition squad at work, whipping across her forehands, often contemptuously, if the opponent displays any ambition of sustaining a rally.
By Saturday midnight, the Willams family will be richer by $3,700,000 plus $1,850,000.