Williams Sisters Win Gold, Rewrite History
Published August 05, 2012 12:00
LONDON, England - The Williams sisters continued to pile the hardware onto their resumes on Sunday afternoon, winning their third Olympic doubles gold medal together, beating Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in the final.
Defying their unseeded status, the Williams sisters took out three seeded teams and didn't even lose a set en route to the final; in fact they held 34 of 36 service games, the blips coming against No.5 seeds Angelique Kerber and Sabine Lisicki second round (though they broke the Germans back five times).
In a rematch of their recent Wimbledon final the Williams sisters were never really in trouble against No.4 seeds Hlavackova and Hradecka, breaking in the first game and again midway through the second set en route to a 64 64 win.
"We've been winning this title since 2000, but it's easier said than done," Venus said after the match. "We come in as the favorites, but it's not a given. We fought hard and our opponents played very well - they're very talented. But we're glad we were able to keep the gold medal here for us. It's an amazing feeling.
"For me it was also amazing to watch Serena complete the Golden Slam."
The Williams sisters are now the first players in tennis history to win four Olympic gold medals, this being their third doubles gold (after Sydney in 2000 and Beijing in 2008) and each of them winning the singles gold once (Venus Williams at Sydney in 2000 and Serena Williams in London this year).
The Williams sisters' doubles resume also include 13 Grand Slam titles: four Australian Opens (2001, 2003, 2009 and 2010), two French Opens (1999 and 2010), five Wimbledons (2000, 2002, 2008, 2009 and 2012) and two US Opens (1999 and 2009). They are a perfect 13-0 in Grand Slam doubles finals.
Both Williams sisters have had their share of struggles with injury and illness over the last few years, but they've both been putting in the long hours and relentless dedication to getting back to the upper echelon of the game.
"Since I came back earlier this year, every time I thought I was getting close to losing, I would think about the Olympics and find a way to win the match," Venus said. "It was very close competition to get my ranking up enough and get onto the Olympic team. But I'm here. It's all I wanted. Just to arrive here was an amazing dream, and to bring home a gold medal after all of this is just crazy."
"Lately I've just been focused on tennis, nothing else - no distractions, no life," Serena said. "My life is practice in the morning, training in the afternoon. Wake up to practice in the morning, then training. I've definitely been spending a lot more time on the tennis court. I've been keeping a nothing-to-lose attitude."
And they don't plan on stopping anytime soon, either.
"I'll definitely be in Rio if I'm healthy and I'm playing - I hope to still be playing at 100% by then," Serena said. "I have some titles to defend, too."
"We still have great tennis in our racquets," Venus said. "I had a great event here in singles and doubles. I feel like I hit a high here. Every day, everything is getting better for me. I just want to keep getting better and improving.
"I think nowadays tennis players are seeing you can play great tennis into your 30s. I think a lot of people were brainwashed early on that you had to quit by now, but that's not really the way it is. By the time you get to this age, you really understand the game and the nuances, and you're just getting better."
The bronze medal match took place later in the day, with No.3 seeds Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova rallying to beat No.1 seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, 46 64 61. For Kirilenko it was a bit of redemption - she lost to Victoria Azarenka in the bronze medal match in singles a day earlier.