Sisters are still hungry after fresh taste of success

Venus Williams had a glass of champagne in her hand but her thoughts were on more humble fare. "I love McDonald's," the five-times Wimbledon champion said here late on Saturday. "That's always my treat after I win or after I lose. Cheeseburger, small fries. In the States I have a kids' meal. I like to mix it up. I love the curry sauce here. It's a special treat. If I lose, I feel happier. If I win, I feel on top of the world. So it works either way."

The Williams sisters have always been different to the rest. Some people in tennis have despaired of their attitude towards the less glamorous parts of the calendar – Serena won the Australian Open last year having played only five tournaments in the previous 16 months – but you had only to listen to Venus here after her latest triumphs to appreciate their dedication.

Venus and Serena do things their way and it works. Their reward here could not have been greater: a 7-5, 6-4 victory for Venus over Serena in the third all-Williams singles final and a 6-2, 6-2 win for the sisters against Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur to claim their third All England Club doubles title.

For Venus one of the major prices of success is the constant need to recharge her energy tanks. "Every morning I wake up and eat chicken, rice and pasta for breakfast," she said. "You have to try and make sure you've got enough energy for that first match.

"After practice I eat another meal, then I eat another before the doubles and after that I eat another one. I have to eat at least four meals a day. The funny part is that I'm still losing weight. If I wasn't eating all those meals I'd be losing even more weight.

"It's crazy, eating food I don't want to eat. I don't like pasta at all, but I have to shovel it down at least twice a day. It's just part of the job. I had to have another one between the singles and the doubles today, but for sure that's the last pasta meal I'll be having for a while."

What will she be eating in the coming days and weeks now that she has earned some time off? "I don't like breakfast, so I'll skip right to lunch," Venus said. "I'm going to go to McDonald's."

Pasta, nevertheless, is likely to figure on the sisters' menu for some years to come. There is no sign of any diminishing of their hunger for success, even though some cynics were ready to consign them to history four years ago.

The sisters won 10 of the 16 Grand Slam titles between Serena's US Open in 1999 and her 2003 Wimbledon crown, but 2004 was a barren year. Serena's Australian Open victory in 2005, however, proved the springboard for a new wave of Williams success, with Venus's win here the fifth Grand Slam title the sisters have won in the last four years.

How many more Wimbledon titles did 28-year-old Venus (who is two years older than Serena) think she had in her? "The goal is obviously to stay healthy and peak five years from now," she said. "I would love to win another one. It's like each one's a blessing. To say that five isn't enough is wrong, but to say I won't go for another one next year is wrong too. I'm going to go for it."

Did chasing Martina Navratilova's record of nine Wimbledon titles provide any additional motivation? "At this point I'm not focused on it," Venus said. "My achievements are separate from hers. My circumstances are different and I feel so honoured to have done what I have done so far already that I don't think it would make a difference."

Would the All England Club be an appropriate place to make her final bow? "That isn't even on my mind at the moment. When you retire, you know it's coming. For me, I'm still looking at racking up championships. Hopefully, I'll win more doubles titles with my sister. We've got great plans out there in the doubles and we're executing it. It's fun. I'm totally into that."

Venus would like children but having a family can wait. "With modern innovations you can have babies into your fifties, so I'm going to rely on technology and knowledge of men and try and play tennis as long as I can. I really love it out here. It's challenging, but I love it."

If Serena has seemed likely to finish her career with more Grand Slam titles – she now has eight while Venus has seven – her older sister has looked all but invincible on these courts. Venus did not lose a set here this year and after an edgy start in the final, when she trailed 0-2 and 0-30, outplayed her sister in almost every aspect of the game.

With her thunderbolt serve (one, timed at 129mph, was a Wimbledon record), booming groundstrokes and punishing volleys, Venus is made to succeed on grass. Serena never quite looked at her best this fortnight and eventually succumbed to the sheer power and consistency of her sister's game. Serving at 5-6 and 30-30, Serena bowed to pressure from a barrage of groundstrokes to the baseline and put two backhands in the net.

Even when the younger sister broke after a third game of the second set that lasted 14 minutes, Venus hit back immediately. At 4-5 and 15-40 Serena saved the first match point with her ninth ace but then put a backhand out after Venus had turned heroic defence into bold attack.

Having seen off Martina Hingis, who was looking likely to dominate the women's game for years to come until the sisters started blasting her off court at the turn of the century, the Americans have now outlasted Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, who have both retired, and are winning most of the battles against the next generation.

Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic represent the best of the current younger wave of players, but all fell early here and it remains to be seen whether they are in the game for the long run. Sharapova's form this summer has been poor and Jankovic has been regularly troubled by injury.

It will probably fall to Ivanovic, the French Open champion, to offer the strongest challenge to the sisters, but it is hard to imagine the 20-year-old Serb matching them on grass in the near future. The Williams era is not over yet, far from it.

Williams v Williams in Slams

(All meetings in finals)

2001 US Open

Venus won 6-2, 6-4

2002 French Open

Serena won 7-5, 6-3

2002 Wimbledon

Serena won 7-6, 6-3

2002 US Open

Serena won 6-4, 6-3

2003 Australian Open

Serena won 7-6, 3-6, 6-4

2003 Wimbledon

Serena won 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

2008 Wimbledon

Venus won 7-5, 6-4

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?