Athletic. Powerful. Radiant. Those are a few words that can be used to describe the ageless wonder, Venus Williams.
At the age of 37, Venus Williams has advanced to compete for her sixth Wimbledon title. Usually, it’s her younger sibling, Serena, who we’re used to seeing advance these days. However, Venus is the original Williams sister that started this family run way back when, and by ending 26-year old Johanna Konta’s fairy tale run 6–4, 6–2, Venus will reach her first singles final since 2009.
Think about the age gap here for a minute. Seriously. Venus, at age 37, just sent the fresher-legged 26-year old Konta packing her bags. Let’s compare this to other sports because this is a REALLY BIG DEAL. Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant retired from the Los Angeles Lakers at the age of 38, perhaps 3-years after the last of his best days. Even before Kobe’s injuries, he lost steps to younger players and was no where near seeing another championship (partly due to the team he played with). LeBron James, the physical specimen that he is, even at age 32 has a difficult time keeping up with the younger Kevin Durant (28). If someone told me that Allen Iverson, at age 42, would step on the court right now and send Stephen Curry (29) packing, I’d take that bet in favor of Curry any day of the week. Granted we’re talking team sports versus pure one-on-one sports, the sheer mental and physical endurance it takes to beat a version of one’s younger self is unthinkable. Yet here we are, Venus Williams is defying the most precious element known to humankind, time.
As if Venus hasn’t already claimed enough tennis history, at age 37, she’s tied to be the oldest women’s singles finalist since 1994. Czech-born Martina Navratilova preceded Venus in that feat and shares the record with her for now. However, should Venus claim victory at Wimbledon against Garbine Muguruza, she’ll stand alone as the oldest women’s singles champion in history. Add that to Venus’s seven major singles titles and four Olympic gold medals, and that’s one handsome stash. In fact, most of the field Venus has played against this year may arguably be too young to recall her first Wimbledon match in 1997 as a 17-year old teenager. It’s a match that got away, but Venus went on to raise the Dish five times after that defeat, the last time being in 2008.
Twenty years later, here we are glaring at a historical sports run by an ageless wonder in Venus Williams. She may not swing a lasso, but Venus has certainly mastered her golden tennis racket over the course of two decades. Her humble beginnings may be far from that of Amazonia, yet it is still all to easy to see the warrior-like princess in Venus’s story, a true Wonder Woman.
*UPDATE: Garbine Muguruza defeated Venus Williams in the final match.
(This article was originally published on July 14, 2017)