On January 3, 1972—exactly 36 years ago to the day—history was made as a 37-year-old Ken Rosewall won the Australian Open to become the oldest player, male or female, to win a major in the Open era.
Venus Williams, who turned 37 last June, can rewrite history in Melbourne this month.
She’s not exactly a long shot, either. Yes, it’s been some time since she won the last of her seven career Grand Slam titles (2008, at Wimbledon) and reached No. 1 in the world (February 2002), but Venus had an absolute renaissance season in 2017, reaching two Grand Slam finals (finishing runner-up to Serena Williams at the Australian Open, and to Garbine Muguruza at Wimbledon) and making it all the way back to No. 5 in the world by year's end.
If Venus wins her eighth career major at the Australian Open at 37 years and seven months, she would pass both the men’s and women’s records for oldest player to win a major in the Open Era:
Oldest Players To Win A Major (Open Era, Male Or Female)
1) Ken Rosewall (37 years & 62 days at 1972 Australian Open)
2) Roger Federer (35 years & 342 days at 2017 Wimbledon)
3) Serena Williams (35 years & 125 days at 2017 Australian Open)
And for the first time in a while, Venus will fine tune her game the week before the Happy Slam, as she’s playing the Premier-level Sydney International, which gets underway this coming Sunday.
The only two times Venus played Sydney came last millennium—she reached the final as a 17-year-old in 1998 (falling to Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario) and the quarterfinals as an 18-year-old in 1999 (falling to Steffi Graf).