x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sister act is ready to continue its dominance

Given their collective mastery on the grass of the All England Club, few would hesitate to anoint the Williams sisters as favourites despite their long absence from the tour.

Nine times in 11 years, a Williams has emerged as Wimbledon ladies' champion. Serena on four occasions and Venus five.

Given their collective mastery on the grass of the All England Club, few would hesitate to anoint the sisters as favourites when the third grand slam of the year starts on Monday.

Their long absence from the tour with injuries sways none, such is the parlous state of women's tennis at the moment.

Caroline Wozniacki is at the head of the rankings, but she has yet to win a grand slam or beat the Williams sisters in six matches.

Kim Clijsters is No 2 and her record against the Americans is 13-9. Vera Zvonareva is the world No 3 and top seed at Eastbourne this week and she has just two wins in 13 matches against the sisters. Li Na, the French Open champion and world No 4, has a 1-5 record against Serena.

Given these statistics, there is no wonder the world is waiting for the return of the Williams sisters, winners of 20 grand slams between them.

Serena, a 13-time grand slam champion, is returning to the circuit after injury for the first time since her Wimbledon triumph last year. Venus has played only two tournaments since the 2010 Wimbledon, missing out due to various ailments.

"I have nothing to prove on the tennis court," Venus said. "But I know I have a lot left to give."

That seems like an ominous warning for the reigning queens of women's tennis. The real owners are back to take their crown.