Serena Williams has been backed to suspend family ties and chase her place as “the greatest player of all time” when facing sister Venus at Wimbledon.
The two five-time Wimbledon champions will meet in a Centre Court clash as compelling as it is awkward in Monday’s hectic last-16 schedule.
Former Wimbledon champion Lindsay Davenport believes the inseparable siblings’ first grand slam meeting in six years will have even the aficionados squirming in their SW19 seats.
But Davenport, now coaching Madison Keys who is also in action on Monday, believes 20-time grand slam champion Serena will set aside family loyalty to maintain her bid for the elusive calendar grand slam.
“I think it’s so difficult, I’m sure when they saw the draw they were both like ’ugh’,” Davenport said, 17 years on from the sisters’ first meeting.
“Serena’s playing for history; Venus isn’t going to have that many more opportunities here. I’m sure it has to be so hard on them.
“They are obviously experienced at it, they have been dealing with it since they were 15 and 16 in age, but I’m sure they would rather see anybody else in the draw.
“I think people have a hard time watching them because people think of them always being together, even though they are both just amazing champions in their own right.
“It’s a match you have to watch, but you almost don’t want to at the same time.”
Fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki must topple Spain’s Garbine Muguruza to reach her first Wimbledon quarter-final in a packed fourth-round line-up.
Maria Sharapova takes on Zarina Diyas while, fresh from dispatching defending champion Petra Kvitova, Jelena Jankovic meets Agnieska Radwanska.
Eastbourne winner Belinda Bencic will face Victoria Azarenka, with Davenport’s American charge Keys up against Olga Govortsova, Timea Bacsinszky taking on Monica Niculescu and Lucie Safarova paired with Coco Vandeweghe.
Serena Williams has already bludgeoned her way to this year’s Australian and French Open titles, and now has the season’s third major title in her sights.
“I think Serena loves the position she’s in, playing for something she’s never achieved before, going for the calendar slam,” said Davenport.
“Serena wants to go down as the greatest player of all time.
“It’s an exciting place for her to be and I think she’s loving where she is right now.”