WIMBLEDON, England — In Saturday’s Wimbledon women’s final, Venus Williams will be facing history. Garbine Muguruza merely will be facing Williams, which isn’t necessarily less daunting.
If Williams, 37, beats Muguruza, she will be the oldest champion in 109 years. “It is very impressive,” Muguruza said of Williams’ lasting power. “I think not everybody can do that.”
Only Charlotte Cooper Sterry has done it. She was 37 years, 282 days old when she defeated Agnes Morton in 1908, which is 230 days older than Williams, born in June 1980.
“She’s still motivated to go for more,” said Muguruza, 26, “which is also very surprising.”
Williams’ career has been a series of surprises. Ten years ago, she was ranked 31st and seeded 23rd at Wimbledon — and won. Six years ago, she disclosed she has an autoimmune disease.
But instead of retirement, there was revitalization. She reached the semifinals here in 2016 and made it to the Australian Open final this past January, losing to younger sister Serena.
Muguruza knows that feeling. She was beaten by Serena Williams in the 2015 Wimbledon final. She does have one Slam title, the 2016 French Open.
Venus Williams is 3-1 against Muguruza, including a loss on the clay in Rome this year. They’ve never played on grass.
“So that becomes definitely a different factor,” Williams said. “I’ll have to see what’s working. I’m not sure exactly what she’s doing.
“I’m definitely in the position I want to be in. It’s two long weeks. Now, you know, knocking on the door for a title. That’s where I want to be.”
That’s where she is, the sport’s grand dame, on the verge of history.
Women’s final comparison:
Venus Williams Garbine Muguruza
10 Wimbledon Seed 14
37 Age 23
$36,520,636 Career Earnings* $11,128,219
7-8 Grand Slam Finals 1-1
5-3 Wimbledon Finals 0-1
49 Career Titles 3
3-1 Head-to-Head 1-3
746-214 Career Record 163-93
26-7 2017 Record 29-13
257-56 Career Record-Grand Slam 48-17
87-14 Career Record-Wimbledon 14-4