AFTER 11 days of thrilling competition at Wimbledon, we have reached finals’ weekend.
First up, the ladies take to Centre Court this afternoon. We would have loved to have seen Jo Konta become the first British finalist since Virginia Wade in 1977, but we have a fascinating final nonetheless as WIMBLEDON WRAP previews the action.
Venus Williams v Garbine Muguruza, Centre Court, 1pm
The headline ahead of this year’s women’s singles at Wimbledon was that without the pregnant Serena Williams, the draw was wide open. Wrong. There was another Williams in town! And Venus has represented the family brilliantly to reach her first final here for eight years. At 37, she has proved that age is no barrier and esteemed judges like Chris Evert have suggested that Venus is playing better tennis this Wimbledon than when she was World No.1 over a decade ago.
Since Venus won the first of her five Wimbledon titles in 2000, she and her sister have dominated the Championships. Venus is going for her sixth title, one behind Serena, and the Williams sisters have played three finals against each other. Of the 18 finals in that time, only four have not contained either of them. Serena and Venus have firmly become part of the Wimbledon’s established order.
Venus is aiming to become the oldest female winner of a Grand Slam and break the record set by her sister in Australia earlier this year. She has also reached the final at Wimbledon against the backdrop of being involved in a fatal road accident back in Florida before the tournament began. A police charge has been dropped, but it’s remarkable that Williams has been able to focus on her tennis and power her way through to the final.
"All these moments have led to this."
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 15, 2017
Venus is the oldest woman to reach the final at Wimbledon since Martina Navratilova in 1994. Sadly for Martina, her dream of a tenth title that day was ended by Spain’s Conchita Martinez. The parallels between then and now are very strong as Martinez is now the coach for Garbine Muguruza. The 23-year-old is contesting her second Wimbledon final and is aiming to go one better against Venus than she managed against Serena in 2015.
Muguruza won the French Open last year, so she knows how to succeed on the big stage, but there is something about Centre Court at Wimbledon that elevates the pressure and the expectation. She has rediscovered both her best tennis and her winning smile during the last fortnight and Muguruza has perhaps shown that she is the player best capable of carrying women’s tennis forward when the Williams sisters eventually head off into the sunset.
— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) July 14, 2017
So we are set for a spectacular final. Both women want to play bold, aggressive tennis and dominate the court, so something will have to give. Will it be history in the making for Venus or can Muguruza bring about a changing of the guard?
It is best of luck this morning to British pair Alfie Hewitt and Gordon Reid in the final of the wheelchair doubles as they take on Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer of France on Court 3.