The first time Serena and Venus Williams faced each other as pros was the second round of the 1998 Australian Open. The first time they faced each other in Grand Slam final was the 2001 U.S. Open. It's ridiculous and amazing to know that they will face each other again in this year's Australian Open final.
Venus is 36 years old. She hasn't won a Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2008. At some point in those last eight-plus years, her career has been thought to be about over; she has battled Sjögrens Syndrome and injuries. So it was something wonderful to see her advance to the final early Thursday morning. When she defeated Coco Vandeweghe—11 years her junior—she was an avatar of happiness. She threw her racket away and her hands in the air and twirled and looked like she didn't know what to do with herself. It was inspiring and beautiful.
Venus looked like all of us in the happiest moments of our lives. While athletes have a tendency to wall themselves and the audience off from their emotions until the end, Venus is content to show her elation in real-time. We get to appreciate the Cinderella story along with her while it is still being written.
"Everyone has their moment in the sun," Venus said. "Maybe mine has gone on a little longer than other people, but I have nothing else to do."
Now she'll get to face Serena for the title. One more Williams sister match in a final—something that seemed improbable not that long ago. While Venus has been working herself back to this moment, Serena has been the great champion of women's tennis. Every time she lost, it was news. If she wins this final, it'll be her record 23rd Slam title.
She obviously has an appreciation for this moment, too. The sisters haven't met in a Grand Slam final since 2009. Venus was just a 13-seed in this tournament. This seems to be truly unexpected.
"I was really proud of Venus, she's a total inspiration for me," Serena said after her own semifinal win. "She's my big sister, she's my world and my life. I'm just so happy for her, for both of us to be in the final. It is a dream come true."
She added, "She's my toughest opponent. No one has beaten me as much as Venus. I just feel whatever happens, we've won. A Williams is going to win this tournament."