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Forget Star Wars: A New Hope. New? Bah. My hope is old school. Old people, aka players in their 30s. Players that have been playing since the 90s. Players I love, players I am used to. Players that comfort me. As our political landscape frightens me on an hourly basis, professional tennis is giving me hope. An old hope.
With wins today in the semis, sisters Venus and Serena Williams make it to the Australian Open final. They have not met in a Grand Slam final since 2009 Wimbledon. Venus is playing some of her best tennis I have ever seen. The pace of her balls has been jawdropping, and Venus has a buoyant energy you can feel through the TV screen. Venus defeated young American CoCo Vandeweghe in three sets today (6-7, 6-2, 6-3), while Serena handily took care of Mirjana Lučić-Baroni in staright sets, 6-2, 6-1.
During her post-match interview, when asked about sister vs sister as she tries to surpass Steffi Graf in total Grand slam wins, a glowing Serena said, “After everything that Venus has been through with her illness…I can’t help but feel like it’s win-win situation for me, because I was there the whole time. We lived together. I know what she went through. So it’s the one time I genuinely feel like no matter what happens, I can’t lose; she can’t lose. It’s going to be a great situation.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2017
As Serena said, “A Williams is going to win the tournament.” I cannot wait.
We have been waiting since 2012 for Roger Federer to win another Grand Slam. Each year, as draws open up, our hopes raise and then…not this year. We all know Roger can’t play forever, that the Rolling Stones lie: time is not on our side. The tennis world just wants ONE MORE from the GOAT. Roger is in the final, set to play the winner of the Rafael Nadal/Grigor Dimitrov match.
The thought of a Roger/Rafa final makes my head ‘splode. I can remember the greatest match of all time (Wimbledon 2008 final), as Roger and Rafa battled each other and rain delays for nearly five hours before Rafa walked away with the trophy. I was six months pregnant, tired, and unsure whom to root for. I loved every second.
Is the universe throwing me a bone? Can we hope for a the most perfect endings to the one Grand Slam that robs me of my sleep? It’s good tennis, no?
Roger is 35. Venus is 36. Serena is 35. Rafa, the baby, is 30. Look at all these old people. I’m only 43. Maybe it’s not too late for me to make my own tennis dreams come true.