Five facts about American veteran Venus Williams, after she beat Coco Vandeweghe to reach the Australian Open women’s final on Thursday:
– At 36, Williams is the oldest Australian Open finalist in the Open era, which began in 1968. Her sister, Serena, holds the record as the tournament’s oldest champion, after she won the title in 2015 aged 33 years, 127 days.
– Williams sets a new record for the longest gap between Grand Slam finals of seven-and-a-half years, after her last appearance in the 2009 title match at Wimbledon. Williams has contested 14 Grand Slam finals, winning seven.
– Williams is making her 73rd appearance at a Grand Slam tournament, an Open-era record. She made her major tournament debut at the French Open in 1997, just before her 17th birthday. Williams is also playing the Australian Open for the 17th time, a record she shares with her sister, Serena.
– Williams’ win ensures that the Australian Open women’s final will feature a thirty-something for the fifth year in a row, after Li Na in 2013 and 2014 and Serena Williams in 2015 and 2016. Before 2013, it had been 25 years since the last 30-plus finalist, when Chris Evert was the runner-up aged 33 in 1988.
– Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, a rare, energy-sapping autoimmune disorder, in 2011. She later adopted a vegan and raw foods diet to decrease inflammation in her body. She has also been affected by injuries in recent seasons.