Update - 10:45 am - Well, reality has a way of blowing the bejeepers out of predictions. Serena drills home eight aces and presses an effective attack against Venus to win Wimbledon. During the pre-game analysis, the announcers noted that Serena was battle tested in getting to the final vs. Venus' fairly easy domination of the entire field (including #1 ranked Safina) on her path to the final. This may have paid off in the form of a rattled and pressed Venus facing championship point in the second set.
Venus was clearly upset at losing a chance at a history making 6th win, clearly dissapointed in her loss which came because she simply didn't play that well. She handled it with a lot of grace considering that unlike a typical opponent, you can't just go home and hate them afterwards, its your sister for crying out loud AND you're playing doubles later as well. As a side note, I really liked the fact that their were two young black girls attending them following the match.
I have a bit greater appreciation for the amount of emotional maturity on display here with these two. We've watched them grow up some in the tennis spotlight and frankly, watching them battle each other on the court is I think still filled with some awkward tension, for them and their family. Imagine the family get together afterwards, feeling unable to cheer one without perhaps hurting the other. Richard still can't bring himself to watch the matches. Mom Oracene does come, but has to watch impassively on the sidelines, unable to root for one or the other daughter except in some secret chamber of her mother's heart, if at all.
You get some clarity about how difficult this is when you note that other tennis siblings have made a different choice. The Bryan brothers for example, playing for the doubles championship, made a pact at a very young age that they would never play against one another. They became a doubles specialist team and have apparently arranged their tennis lives so as to preclude going head to head against one another.
Today's match is continuing proof that despite the emotional maturity of these two, it remains difficult to square off against one another at the mountaintop of tennis. It is this very issue, the reality that because of your level of excellence, often the only person standing between you and victory is your equally excellent sibling and you have to go through them to get the prize, that causes me to have the most pride and respect for the Williams sisters. As we have noted before, it is always clear that Serena and Venus are family first and tennis players second, that they support each other, particularly at these hard moments, when one of them has to be the instrument of the others disappointment. Family, love, sisterhood. I applaud their tennis skills a great deal, they are tremendous athletes, but what makes me proud of them and what I respect about them is that they are family first, and there has never been a question about that.
They'll be back shortly to play the doubles championship, where they are an effective and deadly combo. I love their game face.