LONDON (Reuters) - Venus Williams last graced Centre Court in a Wimbledon singles final in 2009, since when she’s got used to playing the supporting role for sister Serena in four triumphant All England Club campaigns.
So the 37-year-old, carrying the hopes of the Williams clan while her younger sibling takes time out to have a baby, should be forgiven a moment of self-doubt after a clinical victory over Britain’s Johanna Konta on Thursday gave her a shot at another title.
“Serena’s always in my corner and usually it’s her in these finals and I‘m trying my best to represent Williams as best I can,” Venus told the BBC after her 6-4 6-2 win.
“I missed (Serena) so much before this match and ... I just wish she was here and I wish she could do this for me. I was like, no, this time you do it for yourself. So here we are.”
The SW19 major has been kind to both sisters, who have turned its manicured lawns into something of a personal fiefdom since the turn of the century.
Seven of Serena’s record 23 grand slam victories have come here. So have five of Venus’s seven - the first as long ago as 2000 and the last in 2008.
On Saturday the older Williams will seek to become the oldest major winner in the women’s game since it turned professional, eclipsing her sister’s record.
Standing in her way will be Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, who lost her previous Wimbledon final in 2015, to Serena.
“One more win would be amazing. It won’t be a given, but I‘m going to give it my all,” Venus said.
“We both play really well on grass. The last time she played Serena so I’ll have to ask Serena for some pointers.”
In the meantime, she carries the best wishes of Serena’s fiance Alexis Ohanian.
“So happy to see a Williams in the finals of #Wimbledon - congrats, sis,” he wrote on Twitter.
reporting by John Stonestreet; editing by Susan Thomas