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Wimbledon Fans Wait To See If It Will Be An All-Williams Final

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Well, Venus and Serena Williams have both made it to the semifinals at Wimbledon. If they win their next matches, they will face each other in the finals this weekend. Of course, that's not huge news because they have been in that spot before. But it's worth noting Venus now joins an elite club with Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova getting this far after turning 36.

Courtney Nguyen is following Wimbledon in London. She covers tennis. She writes for the WTA Insider. She joins us via Skype. Courtney, good morning.

COURTNEY NGUYEN: Good morning.

GREENE: So is it still a big deal that the two sisters could be in the finals or in the final four together, or is that just whatever, old news, happened before?

NGUYEN: (Laughter) It's definitely big news and, really, because of Venus Williams. Obviously, we're used to Serena making it this far.

GREENE: Yeah.

NGUYEN: It's this - you know, a streak of five-straight semifinals for her, no big deal. But for Venus Williams to get back to this position for the first time since 2010 at any slam, let alone Wimbledon, since 2009 - massive news for her and a huge credit to her longevity.

GREENE: Well - and, I mean, they're going - both Venus and Serena are going up against players who are in their late 20s. I mean, tell us about these relatively young opponents.

NGUYEN: Yeah. I mean, it - you know, tennis is aging in a good way. You know, we see this on the men's side as well with Roger Federer still playing. I mean, 30 is the new kind of 21 really in tennis. And so with Angelique Kerber - she won the Australian Open, beating Serena Williams in the final earlier this year in January. And that was really her big breakout win. I'm not sure everybody thought that Angie Kerber had that in her. But now she's back in her - you know, another slam semi-final, so a big opportunity for her.

And then the newbie (laughter), at nearly 30 years old, Elena Vesnina, a Russian veteran who is making her first Slam semifinal here and has had a fantastic run-through - and just, all four, great stories, really, on the women's side. And different personalities, but Ser - Venus is probably the feel-good story of the week so far. But I would expect that the other two semifinalists are going to have something to say about it.

GREENE: Does it say something about tennis that 30 is the new 21 - there's this longevity? I mean, is something changing?

NGUYEN: I think that some - part of it is really what Serena has done, what Venus has done, what Roger Federer has done in proving to the rest of the field that you don't just hang up your racket automatically when you turn 30, 31 - that there is success to be had if you still have the passion for the sport - that it's just still fun to be on tour and to play, regardless of whether or not you're getting the results that maybe you got in your prime. And so I think those three players are particular examples to the younger generation that, you know, they're now realizing their careers are maybe five years longer than they initially thought.

GREENE: OK. So the women will face each other as time goes on. But a lot of the attention today is on the men. Surprise elimination of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. And now is - I mean, is that field totally wide open?

NGUYEN: It does and it doesn't. I mean, we have - I think the favorite tag now goes to Andy Murray. He's made the last two Slam finals, losing to Novak Djokovic. He's the clear No. 2 on the men's side. And I think, on some level, people are still reeling from Novak Djokovic's loss.

But I think Andy Murray now becomes the favorite. And the sentimental favorite is now Roger Federer, who, if he were to win Wimbledon - it's been a long time since he's won a major - it would be his 18th major. It would be massive. There would be tears. People would be moved beyond belief. So...

GREENE: And another victory for longevity (laughter).

NGUYEN: Exactly. And so those are kind of the competing narratives. And then we also have a young upstart for the men, Milos Raonic, a Canadian. So...

GREENE: All right. Courtney Nguyen, we'll have to leave it there, senior writer for the WTA Insider. Thanks a lot.

NGUYEN: No problem. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.