Serena thanks ´inspiring´ Venus after historic victory

Serena Williams expressed her gratitude to her “inspiring” older sister after beating Venus in the Australian Open final to claim a historic 23rd grand slam title.

The legendary Serena is now out on her own with an Open Era-record title haul and is just one behind the great Margaret Court’s overall tally after winning 6-4 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena on Saturday to surpass Steffi Graf’s total of 22.

Serena also replaced Angelique Kerber at the top of the rankings as a result of a seventh success in Melbourne and the 35-year-old conceded her astonishing exploits would not have been possible with Venus.

“I kept praying and praying and I’m here,” Serena said during the presentation ceremony.

“I really would like to take this moment to congratulate Venus, she’s an amazing person. There’s no way I’d be at 23 without her, there’s no way I’d be at one without her.

“She’s my inspiration, she’s the only reason I’m standing here today and the only reason the Williams sisters exist, so thank you Venus for inspiring me to be the best player that I could be and inspiring me to work hard.

“Every time you won this week I felt like I’ve got to win too. I definitely think she’ll be standing here next year and I don’t like the word comeback, she’s never left, she’s been such a great champion.”

Venus, who was playing in her first major final since 2009, spoke of her pride after seeing her sister make history from the other side of the net.

“Congratulations Serena on number 23. I have been right there with you, some of them I lost right there against you. It’s been an awesome win,” said the seven-time grand slam champion.

“All those times I couldn’t be there, didn’t get there, you were there. I’m enormously proud of you, you mean the world to me.

“I, God willing, would love to come back.”

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