Tennis: Record-setting Venus Williams gives sister Serena target to chase

Serena (left) and Venus Williams celebrating together after winning their doubles final at Wimbledon on July 9, 2016.
Serena (left) and Venus Williams celebrating together after winning their doubles final at Wimbledon on July 9, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

New York (AFP) - Venus Williams racked up a record-setting 72nd Grand Slam tournament appearance on Tuesday and pledged to keep playing to give sister Serena a target to chase.

The 36-year-old also extended her record in first round matches at the US Open to a perfect 18 in 18 attempts as the two-time champion battled to a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 win over Kateryna Kozlova of the Ukraine.

Williams went past the previous best of Major appearances of 71 she shared with fellow American Amy Frazier.

Despite being the oldest player in the draw, world No. 6 Venus has no intention of calling it quits any time soon after reaching her latest landmark.

"I'm grateful and I'm blessed. All I'm hoping for is just health that I can keep that record going," said the veteran. "I don't know when I'm going to stop playing. I don't have plans now. I'm playing too well to be thinking about stopping.

"I appear to be getting better each and every month. So I'd like to make that record hard for someone to break. Where is Serena at? Not far behind?"

The answer is that Serena is right there in her slipstream with the six-time US Open champion playing in her 65th Grand Slam in New York.