(REUTERS) - Venus Williams was in bullish mood after she was denied the chance to end her eight-year grand slam title drought by her younger sister Serena at the Australian Open on Saturday (Jan 28).
The seven-times grand slam winner went down 6-4, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena but said she had proved she had the game to reach more major finals and to return to the blue courts of Melbourne next year for an 18th tilt at the title.
“I, God willing, would love to come back,” she said to cheers from the crowd.
At 36 and five months, Venus was the oldest woman’s grand slam finalist since Martina Navratilova, aged 37, lost the 1994 Wimbledon final to Conchita Martinez.
“Ready to kill it this year. That’s my goal,” she said.
“It’s a great start to the year. I’m looking forward to the rest of year.
“This is like tournament number two and it’s already a lot of work. I’m looking forward to tournament number three and four. It’s going to be awesome.”
On the back of her run to a 15th grand slam final, Venus will move up the world rankings from number 17 to 11th on Monday.
“I didn’t lose a set until the semi-finals. Played against a lot of players who were in form,” she added.
“I feel I played very well this week, pulled a lot of things out of my pocket,” she said with a smile. “I got more stuff in my pocket.”
Venus’s first grand slam final appearance in eight years was a stunning victory of perseverance following her struggles to manage Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain.
“She’s the toughest player I’ve ever faced,” said Serena, who clinched her seventh Melbourne Park crown to surpass Steffi Graf as the most prolific grand slam title winner of the open era.
“There’s no way I would be at 23 without her, there’s no way I would be number one without her.”
Venus also paid tribute to her sister, who is set to regain her No. 1 ranking.
“Your win has always been my win. All the times I couldn’t be there, couldn’t get there, you were there,” she said, her eyes sparkling with emotion as she clutched the runner-up trophy,” she said.
When asked if the sisters were the greatest sporting siblings of all time, however, Venus smiled. “I don’t think we’re going for the greatest story in sports. We’re just going for some dreams. In the case that we are, what an honour, what an honour.”