Williams sisters Serena and Venus have been a breath of fresh air at the Rome Open but more so for their off court rather than on court antics. The pair remained on course for a semi-final meeting on Friday. Serena entered the semis while Venus won her third round encounter.
The world number one beat Russia’s Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-4 and could face Venus who disposed off 16th seed Shahar Peer 6-3, 6-4. Venus faces seventh seed Jelena Jankovic in quarters.
Their on court success is nothing new but the most famous tennis sisters of all time have long had a reputation for being sultry and unresponsive in post match press meets.
Not in Rome, though, where they seem relaxed and even keen on enjoying themselves.
Serena, for one, joked about what she had given up in order to come to Rome and begin her French Open preparations.
“Right now I was supposed to be at the Met Ball in New York with Anna Wintour (Editor-in-Chief, Vogue USA) and Oprah Winfrey,” she said.
“I was supposed to be there. I had a fabulous dress or gown that I was going to wear.
“After that I was going to go to the Time 100 as I was chosen as one of the 100 most influential people last year.
“Unfortunately, or fortunately, I said ‘I'm going to try to play Rome’ and so I skipped Oprah and Anna Wintour and it hurts me.
“It hurt my soul because I really wanted to be there but this is my career and I really needed the extra match. But, I'm very sad.”
Having previously described herself as cheeky in a pre-tournament press conference, this time she promised to be “sexy” in her next match.
Back to matters of a competitive nature, Serena was asked if four-time French Open champion Justine Henin was the equivalent to her that undisputed clay king Rafael Nadal is to men's world number one Roger Federer.
“No, I'd definitely say that Venus is. I have never played someone as tough as her, she's unbelievable,” she said.