US Open 2016: Steffi Graf rooting for Serena Williams at the Barclays
The Williams sisters’ rivalry is not one for the faint of heart. Serena comes off as a little bitchy, and her sister is far more aggressive at the net. It’s not all about the tennis. They regularly play other sports, go to dinners out and on vacation, and often don’t agree on the things they are going to say while doing them. It’s a rivalry that has been going on for more than 20 years and shows no sign of letting up. But on Friday night (Monday morning in US time) Williams will be the one fighting for her last two Grand Slam titles. Serena, who won the title in 2009, is in her 16th year as a top-ranked player.
The Open, meanwhile, has been around since 1969. It has been won by just five players. In terms of overall men’s tennis, it is only four titles for Roger Federer, and four for Rafael Nadal. Women’s tennis is even more extreme, and has been won only by three players. In terms of overall women’s tennis, it is eight titles for Steffi Graf.
It’s hard to imagine two players with as extreme a rivalry as these two putting on a major championship. But in the modern era, the rivalry between these two has been the dominant story on the women’s tour. So the narrative would be something like: Williams will bring home the title, Serena will be the upset, but if Serena wins, well, then we’ll know she’s a “ticked-off” player, if you will. In other words, if Serena is successful here, that will mean that Williams was the superior player in terms of talent or just sheer stubbornness. If her win is not a fluke, it will mean that she lost because she is “too stubborn” to adapt to change. If her victory is not a fluke, it will mean that she is the winner because of a combination of talent and stubbornness. And if her win is not a fluke, there will be no doubt as to whether her opponent is a better player than she.
Serena should be a favorite to win the match. She is the defending champion, and she has won