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Saturday Sports: Serena Williams Wins Australian Open

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And finally time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Serena Williams won her seventh Australian Open, her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, in Melbourne today - 6-4 6-4. She defeated Venus Williams, who is pretty great in her own right. We're joined now by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com. Howard, thanks for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: How are you, Scott?

SIMON: I'm fine. How did the match play out?

BRYANT: Well, the match played out relatively routinely, simply because Serena is just that good. It was so powerful. It's so difficult watching those two play each other. Anyone who watches Serena knows the fire that she brings to a match. But she's going up against her older sister, and everyone who watches Venus knows what fire Venus brings to the match. So they don't want to show each other up. You can see the sort of angst and the anxiety when they're going up against each other because they really don't want to do this, but, of course, when there's a trophy in the line, they're both competitors, as well. Serena is just too good. And that was pretty much the bottom line, as it is with her against pretty much everybody. And Venus battled, and they fought, and they really showed how much they have revolutionized the sport. But at the end, when it was time to cross the finish line, it was Serena.

SIMON: The Deen, Uloom (ph), Manning or Ryszard (ph) brothers, Reggie and Cheryl Miller, Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko - there are no other siblings in the history of sports that come close to the Williams sisters, are there?

BRYANT: No, they're the greatest. They are - they are the greatest athletic pair, I think, in in modern sports history. I would defy anybody to try and top that. And how can you? Whether it's numerically in terms of the number of championships - but it's also in terms of legacy. It's a word that we use very poorly, I think, in our business. When I watched that match today, I saw the legacy of Serena and Venus in players like Maria Sharapova and Dominique Cibulkova and Petra Kvitova and Madison Keys and all of these power-hitting players.

And if you go back and you look at Chris Evert and Martina Hingis and some of the other players, they revolutionized the game. You can't hit the way - the way Chris Everett and Martina and those guys hit anymore because Serena and Venus have turned the game into a power game. And when you watch them play today - that was what I really saw. You saw the legacy of having to be a power player in order to compete at the top levels. And it was it was really stunning to watch. And it's also something to think about - something else. They turned pro 22 and 23 years ago, and they're still playing at the top levels of the game.

SIMON: Thirty seconds or so left. I understand that there are men playing to this year, right?

BRYANT: Yeah, it's - this is a - this is the cocoon Grand Slam. You had the 30-somethings - Venus and Serena. And now you've got 35-year-old Roger Federer going up against 30-year-old Rafael Nadal - classic, classic matchup - the two - probably the two greatest tennis players on the men's side. And I cannot wait. I will be up to see it at 3 a.m. And Nadal is up 23-11 on Roger. He wants his 15th major, and Roger want his 18th. Something's going to give. And believe me - this is the matchup that everybody didn't think we were ever going to see again, and we're going to get it tonight.

SIMON: Yeah, yeah. It is like coming out of a dream - isn't it? - both of these finals.

BRYANT: Fantastic.

SIMON: Howard Bryant of ESPN.com, thanks so much for being with us.

BRYANT: Thank you.

SIMON: And tomorrow on Weekend Edition Sunday, we're going to talk more about Serena Williams and her impact on sports. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.