INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Men's World No.1 Roger Federer was full of praise for Venus and Serena Williams after the sisters clashed in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.
“Longevity and dominance - they showed that. They had a massive arrival on the scene, a lot of buzz around them, and they lived up to the hype, came out and crushed it,” said Federer, following his own third-round match.
“From the very beginning, they were very interesting to follow. I think they hardly played any juniors, really, which made it more of a mystery, because you just didn’t know exactly what to expect from them.”
Venus and Serena faced each other in Indian Wells on Monday night for their 29th encounter in their careers, with the older sister coming out on top, 6-3, 6-4.
Both have dealt with illness and injury to maintain their careers at the top - another achievement admired by Federer, who faces Jérémy Chardy in the R16 at Indian Wells on Wednesday.
“For many years we were worried that they were going to check out early with sickness or injuries. We weren’t sure if they’re going to play as long as we hoped them to play,” he said.
“And here we are. They are both over 35, 36, and still basically playing at the top - Serena being a mom now, Venus overcame a lot of also difficult situations and still playing.”
He added that he hoped Serena would continue to combine tennis and motherhood successfully, saying: "I think that’s going to be a huge story, maybe the story of the year. Hopefully she decides to play a lot and enjoy herself in the process and get back to who knows how high? It almost doesn’t matter, but it would just be amazing to see her do it now."
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