Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Williams sisters revive their sibling rivalry at Wimbledon

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Online Store Manager

Serena Williams knocks older sister Venus Williams
out of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships in the 4th
Playing against your sibling plain sucks! So it may not be all bad but it sure has it's sucky moments. Watching the Williams' sisters come head to head at this year's Wimbledon (which unfortunately was a bit anti-climactic), made me reminisce about the good ole days when these legendary meetings against the sisters were essentially left up to a coin toss on who was going to win.
While watching this year's 4th round match-up between Venus and Serena, I was commenting on how unfortunate it is to play a sibling when some fellow viewers claimed the sisters were actually at an advantage of playing against each other and probably basked in the hype. While I don't entirely disagree, my past experiences have led me to think quite differently. 

I grew up in a tennis family with four siblings, one in which became one of my biggest rivals on court--my twin sister. A few things about my twin: She's taller than me, 4 minutes older, and according to the number of crushes boys had on her probably prettier than me. Whatever, I can live with those disadvantages, but when it came to tennis being better than me wasn't an option. Neither one of us wanted to be better than the other. And being sisters, particularly twins, my parents ensured we got equal treatment. So how was it fair that one of us had to win while the other had to lose? 

A lot of emotions cross your mind when playing against a sibling. At the beginning of the tournament you're always rooting for the other to win in the chance that you might meet later in the draw or the final--what fun! And when the moment arises you take a sigh of relief that you're only playing your sister rather than some tough seed you don't particularly like--even better right? Then you realize that neither one of you wants to back down which means someone's in for a big disappointment. Even though you can joke and crack a smile more often when playing against a sibling, the main struggle is keeping the match from feeling like an afternoon of backyard tennis. I actually prefer those matches because you can let loose and have a bit of fun, but there's a fine line between relaxing and slacking since your game can go south, fast! Then there's those dreaded matches when you're sibling is struggling. Her serve is off, she's shouting out in frustration or worse she's on the brink of tears (we were young alright). It's so hard to watch anyone hurting let alone your own sibling. You find yourself absentmindedly laying off the power, maybe not go for as deep of an angle, flub some shots of your own all because of this sympathetic distraction. Next thing you know, you're the one struggling! And worse, you both have to endure that long ride home together. The most memorable matches I had against my sister were when we didn't care about the outcome (truly). We just focused on playing good tennis, which in experience has proven to be the best recipe when playing a sibling. 

The Williams sisters always want the best for each other but over the course of their careers, Serena's really pulled away as the top dog in the family, which I can only imagine to be more difficult than ever to play older sister Venus because who doesn't like rooting for the underdog? The best thing they can do is just enjoy the moment, because there might not be a lot of them left. I think Serena said it best, "She's my sister today, she's my sister next week and she's my sister next year. We'll leave everything out on the court. When it's done, we'll go back to regular life." There's no turning off that sibling meter in your head no matter what anyone says. You both can only hope for a memorable and fun experience with only a few sucky moments. 

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1 comment:

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