Serena Willians meets with Venus Williams for the 29th time on Tuesday at Indian Wells and here are five fast facts you simply have to know before the action starts.
Indian Wells marks Serena’s first WTA sanctioned tournament in 14 months after she gave birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., on the first of September last year.
Over the years, the two sisters have played out some memorable encounters but this one is surely the most unique of the lot.
Below are some interesting details pertaining to Venus vs Serena XXIX.
These two have played each other more than anyone else
With 28 previous meetings and a 29th on the way, Venus and Serena have never played anyone else as much – Serena’s next-most-played opponents are Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova (21 times each) and Venus’ next-most-played opponent is Lindsay Davenport (27 times).
She said, she said
If you think these two enjoy playing each other, think again. They hate it. So dear is there love for another. In the build-up to the game, Serena stated as much.
“I would prefer to play someone else, anybody else, literally anybody else, but it has to happen now. So it is what it is,” the 23-time grand slam champion said.
“She looked like she never lost a step,” Venus said of Serena after she beat Zarina Diyas and Kiki Bertens to book her spot in the third round.
“Great way to come back.”
11 wins and one year is the difference
Despite being one year younger, Serena has emerged on the right side of this encounter far more than her older sister has over the course of their professional careers.
In the 28 matches played, Serena has won 17 times compared to Venus’ 11 victories.
Those numbers make sense when one considers grand slam wins – Serena has 23 compared to Venus’ seven.
Venus does, however, have some advantages
Not only is Venus currently more match fit – this is her 13th WTA event over the past 12 months, and Serena’s first – but the earlier in the tournament they play each other, the more it has favoured Venus.
Venus is 5-4 against Serena when they meet before the semi-finals.
A controversial setting
After the 2001 Indian Wells showpiece, Serena boycotted the tournament for 13 years. The decision followed an ugly couple of days in California.
Venus and Serena were set to play against each other in the semi-finals of the tournament that year however Venus withdrew moments before that game with an elbow injury.
The sisters’ father was then accused of fixing matches between his daughters and predetermining who would win on any particular day.
Serena advanced to the final and despite winning was on the receiving end of ugly jeering and boos throughout her match with Kim Clijsters.
The Williams family believed their treatment was racially motivated.
In 2015 Serena returned however the tournament will always bring back tough memories for both.