She was runner-up to record-breaking sister Serena in the Australian Open decider, but veteran Venus Williams is motivated to achieve more after ending her grand slam final drought.
Appearing in a major showpiece for the first time since 2009, Venus was ultimately upstaged by second seed Serena, who eclipsed Steffi Graf with a record 23rd major title in the Open Era after triumphing 6-4 6-4 in a family affair at Melbourne Park on Saturday.
Injuries and health problems have derailed Venus in recent years and while she could not stop Serena on Rod Laver Arena, the 36-year-old took plenty away from her return to the spotlight in Melbourne.
“I feel motivated to continue, to continue to go out there and hit the ball the way I know I can,” said Venus, who had only dropped one set en route to the final.
“There’s only things I can improve on, to be honest, and to build on.
“I feel I played very well this week, pulled a lot of things out of my pocket. I got more stuff in my pocket.
“It was great to have an opportunity to play for the title. That’s exactly where I want to be standing during these grand slams, on finals day, having an opportunity.
“That’s the highlight of all this, is to be in that moment.”
Asked if she was surprised with her performances during the fortnight at Melbourne Park, the seven-time grand slam champion replied: “I’ve been playing pretty solid in the slams for the last couple years, so no.”
The tension and emotion was clear for all to see as Serena closed in on the Open Era record, with her sibling on the other side of the net in a special and nostalgic encounter.
Venus – back on the big stage – tried to keep the points short against her powerful younger sister, while Serena was visibly stressed as she broke a racket in the opening set.
“I think [it was special] because Serena’s been in a lot of finals, but I haven’t been able to be there as much as she has,” Venus added.
“To have this opportunity to play against each other again, and to be able to rise to that occasion, was quite momentous.”
Serena moved to within a slam of breaking Margaret Court’s all-time record after conquering Venus for the seventh time in nine major final meetings.
The 35-year-old also reclaimed the top WTA ranking from Angelique Kerber, who stunned Serena in last year’s Australian Open decider.
“I know she would like to have a little more. Who wouldn’t? It was a great moment,” Venus said.
“I’m very happy that she’s been able to get to number 23 because there’s 22 ahead of that that she also earned, and she earned it.”