Sunday, December 28
Subdued Serena not enjoying success

Special to ESPN.com

WIMBLEDON, England -- There was a lot of concern over whether Venus would complete the final. She injured her stomach during the semifinals, and then, with her leg wrapped, she hit for only 15 minutes in her finals warmup. Given that Venus has little experience playing through injuries, it only brought another dimension to an already complicated match.

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Pam Shriver
Shriver
Former WTA Tour pro Pam Shriver is providing ESPN.com with in-depth analysis throughout Wimbledon. Shriver, a tennis analyst for ESPN, was ranked as high as No. 3 in singles play. She won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles.

It was difficult to tell where this match was headed. I never would have thought Venus would win the first set, given her injuries. Serena was subdued throughout and, in recognition of her sister's injuries, celebrated her win even less than the other four Slam finals in which she has defeated Venus.

Given all that, the match wasn't bad. Although, that's like saying, "Other than the shooting, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" They had two or three good points, but overall, the match didn't reach the quality of the Australian Open final. After Venus had an injury timeout in the third set, concerns over her health were revived, especially given the look on her face when she walked out to get more treatment.

But Venus shouldn't be as down after this as she was after losing in Australia. Playing injured like this is a new situation for her. She has to be concerned about getting healthy for the American hard-court season. It wouldn't be surprising if she played just one lead-up tournament and then the U.S. Open. She needs to get healthy and keep this from becoming a chronic injury. The way she played here against Nadia Petrova and Vera Zonvareva -- Venus was back. Then, this injury became a setback.

As for Serena, she hadn't won a tournament since March in Miami. She was under a lot of pressure here, facing the possibility of losing her world No. 1 ranking. She had to beat her toughest opponent of last year, Els Callens, in the second round. She defeated one of her past nemeses in Jennifer Capriati. The highlight of the tournament, though, was how she absolutely crushed Justine Henin-Hardenne, losing just five games. With all of the media hype about a rivalry and bad blood between the two, Serena did what all great champions do -- she came out and spoke with her racket.

Because they came at the expense of her sister, Serena hasn't been able to celebrate these two Wimbledon victories the way Martina Navratilova celebrated her nine, Steffi Graf celebrated her seven, Chris Evert her three or Venus her two. Overall, Serena has had to subdue her celebration five times in the past 15 months, putting a cap on that moment when you finish number one out of 128.