Serena Williams Beats Venus at Australian Open to Win Record 23rd Major, Calls Sister Her “Inspiration”

Venus Williams, Serena Williams

Tennis stars Serena Williams and Venus Williams exchanged a sweet embrace after the former beat the latter at the 2017 Australian Open Saturday in what marked the latest match in their more than 15-year professional sibling rivalry.

Serena’s Women’s Singles finals match victory, with a score of 6-4 6-4, marks her seventh Australian Open title and a record 23rd grand slam title. She broke the tie she had with Steffi Graf for most major titles in the professional era. Serena also broke a record she set at Wimbledon in 2016 to becomes the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open era

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After the match, Serena and Venus appeared emotional as they paid tribute to each other in a ceremony held on the tennis court.

“She’s an amazing person, there’s no way I would be at 23 without her,” Serena said, cradling the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. “There’s no way I would have anything without her. She’s my inspiration. She’s the only reason I’m standing here today and the only reason that the Williams sisters exist.”

“Congratulations, Serena, on No. 23,” Venus said. “I have been right there with you. Some of them I have lost right there against you. Your win has always been my win, you know that. All the times I couldn’t be there, wouldn’t be there, didn’t get there, you were there.”

It was almost a full family affair for Serena at the match: Her fiancé and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian cheered her on from the stands.

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Serena, 35, and Venus, 36, have competed against each other 28 times at tournaments, starting in 1998. Venus won most of their singles matches up until 2001. Serena mostly beat her sister at tennis championships over the next four years. Venus won most of their matches until 2009 and from then on, Serena mostly reigned supreme.

Venus’s career has stalled since she was diagnosed with Sjorgren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease, in 2011. She last played in a grand slam final in 2009 at Wimbledon, which her sister won.

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