This year’s US Open feels strange without the Williams sisters

One of the most impressive things about Venus and Serena Williams is their longevity. For over two decades, the sisters have set a gold standard in women’s tennis, winning hatfuls of Grand Slams and carving a legacy as two of the greatest players to ever play the game. In Serena’s case in particular, it’s hard to think of many examples of a sportsperson enjoying such sustained excellence over that length of time, and when she eventually hangs up her racket, she will be regarded as the pinnacle of sporting achievement.

Indeed, this year’s US Open has given us a glimpse of life on the women’s tennis tour without the Williams sisters. Neither Venus nor Serena are able to take part due to injury, making it the first time since 2003 that both have missed the US Open, and the first time since 2011 that both have been absent from the same Grand Slam event. When you consider the injury trouble, pregnancy, off-court issues and various setbacks that one or both of the sisters have gone through over the years, it’s impressive that at least one of them has been present at so many of the sport’s biggest occasions.

Even though her Grand Slam results over the last year or so haven’t been particularly impressive, Serena would undoubtedly have been among the favourites in the tennis US Open betting odds to win the tournament. Although she hasn’t won one of the majors since returning from giving birth to her daughter, she has been operating at a very high level, reaching four Grand Slam finals and a further two semi-finals. For her to be absent from the US Open is a big loss.

The same can be said for Venus, who although is no longer at the peak of her powers, can still give anyone a game on her day. She enjoyed a short-lived renaissance in 2017, reaching two Grand Slam finals, losing the Australian Open showpiece to her sister Serena before also missing out on a sixth Wimbledon crown at the hands of Garbiñe Muguruza. Since 2017, Venus has not made it beyond the third round at a Grand Slam, but she is still a consistent presence at the sport’s blue-riband events.

The Williams sisters have a special relationship with the US Open. After all, it is their home Grand Slam, having brought the US so much success in tennis since their emergence onto the professional scene. With Venus’ two titles and Serena’s magnificent six, the pair have been regular fixtures in the final at Flushing Meadows for so many years.

For fans going along to the New York venue to watch the action unfold, things will feel a little different without Serena or Venus to cheer on, but already there are young American players coming through who will soon be ready to take on the mantle. Coco Gauff is showing signs that she could be a future Grand Slam champion, while Sofia Kenin is still young at just 22 years of age, and both are being touted in the US Open betting tips for big things.

Even with these young prospects emerging, there is still a sombre note surrounding the Williams’ absence from the US Open — a tournament where both women have enjoyed such memorable success.

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