Mon, Jul 09, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Win could herald era of Williams' dominance: Venus


Venus Williams believes her fourth Wimbledon title could herald the start of a new period of dominance for herself and her sister Serena in women's tennis.

Both sisters endured injury-blighted years last year and there were plenty of pundits willing to predict that their time at the top of the women's game was nearing an end.

Those predictions were confounded when Serena came from nowhere to win the Australian Open in January, a triumph that her elder sister hailed as the inspiration for her own return to the top at the All England Club.

A 6-4, 6-1 victory over surprise package Marion Bartoli of France in Saturday's final was not as one-sided as the score suggests.

But there was never really any serious doubt that Venus, who had demolished Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova on her way to the final, would add to her 2000, 2001 and 2005 titles, taking her tally of Grand Slam titles to six, two behind Serena's haul of eight.

She said: "When it comes to Wimbledon I have more but in the overall count I have a couple less. When I saw her win in Australia, I knew I could do it. We just love each other and inspire each other like that."

Having missed the second half of last year with a career-threatening wrist injury, Venus had had to endure being written off as a spent force at the age of 27.

But she insisted: "I never doubted myself that I could come back. There was a lot of work behind the scenes. I started in January, I finally got to play in February and step by step I was getting healthier and stronger, getting back to physically the way I was."

"My family know what I went through," she said. "It has been a long road back but I am so happy to have brought it all together here."

"I definitely think Serena and I can play more finals against each other, as long as we have a chance to prepare and stay fit," Williams said.

"I feel fantastic after my sixth slam and I want some more. It would have been wonderful if Serena [who lost to Justine Henin in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon] had also got to the final and I think it could happen again, for sure," she said.

Bartoli joked that she had lost because she did not have ex-James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan cheering her on.

The 22-year-old, who had attributed her semi-final win over Henin to the presence in the crowd of one of her favorite movie stars, revealed that she had received a pre-match bouquet of flowers and a letter of encouragement from Brosnan.

But even that gesture could not give her the ammunition to match Williams' firepower.

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