Women's Doubles Tennis: A Williams Whitewash We'd Wish To Continue?

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIFebruary 1, 2010

7 Jul 2000:  A dejected Anna Kournikova of Russia and Natasha Zvereva of Belarus after losing to the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena of the USA during the semi finals of the womens doubles in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, London. Mandatory Credit: Clive Brunskill/ALLSPORT
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Between them they amass an almighty forty-five Grand Slam titles and five Olympic gold medals, establishing themselves as the most successful siblings ever to grace any sport.

In singles events Venus Williams has triumphed on seven occasions with her younger sister Serena eclipsing that with twelve. For a decade now both sisters have well and truly shown a dominance of the sport that matches the current Nadal-Federer stranglehold of the men’s game.

Even if at points the sisters interests seemed invested elsewhere and with results not always going their way they kept themselves part of the staple diet of the women’s game and at times appeared invincible.

A Wimbledon final has now become seemingly required to have at least one William’s sister in competition.

Yet in the last couple of years the William’s sisters have accompanied their singles glories with a barrage of doubles titles which have set them even further apart from the rest of the pack.

In the last two years they have triumphed together at the Australian Open (2009 & 2010), at Wimbledon (2008 & 2009) and at the US Open (2009) and have thus re-affirmed our ideal that one Williams sister is difficult to beat, but two is almost impossible.

Straight sets victories became common place occurrences in any fixture on a doubles court, and defeat for the sisters was always an incredible shock on the few occasions that it happened.

The five recent glories accompanied various victories from 1998-2003 which also included mixed doubles titles (two of each for each sister) accompanying five other women’s doubles titles.

But what about the five year gap in between, where not a single doubles title was achieved?

You would have thought looking at the Grand slam records that Venus and Serena held during these years, that they would have played in doubles continuously alongside their preferred events as both players carried on excelling separately.

But this was not the case as with interests opening up outside of the court it appeared that both Venus and Serena showed little inspiration to continue their early dominance of the doubles circuit and instead allowed other duos to stake a claim to the grand slam crowns. The Bondarenko sisters for example earned credible results in the year or two before the William’s sisters return and probably would have expected to further this run of results.

A few tournaments were played by Venus and Serena but their heart simply was not in it and they rarely troubled the scene for those five years between 2003 and 2008. With such a mountain of doubles championships between them this was always going to be a massive shame.

The women’s doubles game also suffered as it was sidelined by the men’s doubles and the mixed doubles events where more enticing scenes could be witnessed.

The recent run of victories for Venus and Serena may therefore be a strengthening and illustrious run that could be inspired to continue long into this decade.

If recent form is anything to go by this would allow both sisters to compete in their preferred and self limited singles events, but also to compete at the highest level on the doubles arena. They have now shown that they are capable of succeeding in both sets of tournaments, producing solid and determined displays in both.

Records after all are there to be set, and with doubles tournaments featuring at every Grand Slam event the tally of wins that the sisters can collect as a result is remarkably fruitful.

Let’s hope then that the sisters continue their reignited passion for the doubles game and  leave behind them a legacy of two sisters that produced the finest women’s tennis ever seen on the courts.

Imagining the current tally that may have existed if the sisters had bothered with the doubles game in the mid noughties is mind blowing. Their semi regular participation however can seemingly be wiped out with a few more years of absolute demolition of the opposition.

They can make themselves an example of what brilliance and perfection really entails, and they can become the doubles pairing that siblings across the world can again seek to emulate.