Venus sets her sights on Wimbledon hat-trick

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Venus Williams has history in her sights as she aims to cement her place among the grasscourt greats by completing a hat-trick of Wimbledon triumphs.

Updated: June 21, 2009 14:49 IST
  • Total Shares


Venus Williams has history in her sights as the American aims to cement her place among the grasscourt greats by completing a hat-trick of Wimbledon triumphs this year.

Williams will become only the fourth woman since the 1960s to claim three successive titles at the All England Club if she retains the aptly Venus Rosewater Dish, joining Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King in the elite list of treble champions.

Few would bet against the 29-year-old who has reached seven Wimbledon finals in the last decade.

This is the time of year Venus relishes most. While she has never won the Australian or French Opens, Wimbledon has been a love-affair almost from first sight.

But for sister Serena's two victories over her in the 2002 and 2003 finals, Venus would be closing in on Navratilova's record of nine singles titles.

That target is still within sight and Venus said: "That would be the ultimate. Her career spanned three decades, so I'm not sure if I have that much time.

"But if I did (play that long), I think I would definitely dream of that."

Serena knows more about Venus's qualities than anyone on the WTA Tour and she believes her sister is the woman to beat once again.

"I think she's everyone's worry. She has proven herself to be the best grasscourt player in our generation," Serena said. "She has an amazing serve and return. It's hard to play someone like that on grass."

The strongest challenge to Venus's dominance is likely to come from across the breakfast table at her Wimbledon base in the leafy south-west London village.

As ever with Serena, results in the lesser Tour events are no indicator of her ability to win Grand Slams, as she proved by failing to win a single tournament since January's victory at the Australian Open.

It is six years since Serena last won Wimbledon but on her day the world number two still has the beating of any of her peers - including Venus.

The same can't be said of world number one Dinara Safina, who will travel to London rocked after compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova thrashed her in the French Open final.

Safina has risen to the top of the womens' rankings without landing a Grand Slam victory.

The 23-year-old Russian may not fancy her chances of ending that frustrating run at Wimbledon as she has yet to make it past the third round.

If Safina can't dethrone Venus, the biggest threat could come from elsewhere in eastern Europe.

Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion, is working her way back up the rankings after returning to the Tour in May following 10 months on the sidelines with a persistent shoulder injury.

The Russian insists her desire to succeed burns as brightly as ever.

"I've always been a fighter," she said. "If I was mentally weak I wouldn't be doing this, I'd be on some island with a nice cold pina colada. But there is no better feeling than waving to the crowd after you've won."

Another challenger should be Kuznetsova, whose morale is sky-high after her Roland Garros triumph, while world number four Elena Dementieva, a two-time Grand Slam finalist, reached the semi-finals last year.

There is no shortage of motivation for Serbian duo Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, who both failed to make it past the fourth round last year despite being seeded one and two respectively, and have struggled since.

Attention will also be focued on 16-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito, whose high-pitch on-court screeching has led the International Tennis Federation to consider making "noise hindrance" part of its code of conduct.

For the latest Sports news , like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and get the NDTV Cricket app for Android or iOS

  • Tennis
  • Andy Roddick
  • Lukas Dlouhy
  • Rohan Bopanna
  • Leander Paes
  • Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi
  • Maria Sharapova

Leave a comment