Originally created 01/26/03

In good company



MELBOURNE, Australia - Serena Williams has said all along that she's the perfectionist in the family. Now she has a perfect set of trophies from the last four major tennis tournaments.

Williams completed her "Serena Slam" by defeating older sister Venus at the Australian Open, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4 Saturday. Serena has beaten Venus in the final of the last four majors.

The match was filled with mistakes, and Serena committed 54 errors, compared with 51 for Venus. Serena slammed down her racket after a few of the more serious miscues, and she berated a line judge even after winning a key point.

"I think she just about had me," Serena said of her sister. "I just wanted to win so bad."

Serena missed last year's Australian Open with an injury, ruining her shot at becoming the first player since Steffi Graf in 1994 to win a true Grand Slam - all four majors in the same calendar year.

But after winning last year's French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles, and now the Australian, Serena joins an elite group of players who have held all four major titles at once; the others are Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova and Graf. Connolly and Court also won all four in the same year.

"I just can't believe I can now be compared to these women," Serena said. "They're such greats, and I don't know if I'll accomplish everything they have. But to even be in the category of winning four in a row is, for me, really amazing, it's something I've always dreamed of and wanted to do."

What's next?

"I'm just going to keep fighting, keep working hard and keep smiling," Serena said.

Venus, who now trails her sister 5-4 in major titles won, said she's more motivated than ever.

"I don't want to be the player that won four Grand Slams, whether she wins five or 15," said Venus, who has won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open twice each. "When you look at the great players who have won 20 and all those kinds of numbers, I still have a long way to go - and not much time."

Venus turns 23 in June, while Serena won't be 22 until September.

The second set was the first Venus had won from Serena in five matches since she beat Serena in the U.S. Open final in September 2001.

The two traded early breaks in the final set, and Serena had five break points to go ahead 5-3. She violently hurled down her racket after finally netting a forehand to give Venus game point.

"That's fine," Venus said. "She's questioning calls and yells and slams the racket. I'm more or less the one that's kind of silent."

In the last game, however, Venus went out with four straight errors, ending with a forehand hit long.

They met at the net to hug and whisper in each other's ear. Then Serena blew kisses to the crowd. Venus applauded with her racket.

"I never get choked up, but I'm really emotional right now," Serena said at the trophy ceremony.

On the verge of tears, she added: "I'm really, really, really happy. I'd like to thank my mom and my dad for helping me."