It was 1997 when Venus Williams made her debut in a Grand Slam final, losing the U.S. Open to Martina Hingis. No one thought she would be there. Many thought she shouldn't be there.
In 2017, Venus Williams again made a Grand Slam appearance. Few thought she would be there and many, again, thought she shouldn't be.
Williams, at age 37, became the story of Wimbledon, advancing to the final for the first time since 2008, which also was the last time she won a Grand Slam. On Saturday, she lost in straight sets to Garbine Maguruza, but that didn't diminish the luster of her story and her place in tennis history.
It was Venus Williams who publicly led the charge for equal pay at Wimbledon in 2005, winning the cause two years later. She then battled more privately and personally her diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain. Commentators urged her to hang it up, but she persisted. And she continues to persist. In 2017 she has reached two Grand Slam finals, Australia and Wimbledon. She'll have another opportunity when the U.S. Open begins Aug. 28. And if she makes the final again, it will be a sight to see.