updated 07/07/2008 AT 12:55 PM ET
•originally published 07/07/2008 AT 1:00 PM ET
Was there a secret to Venus Williams’s fifth Wimbledon singles championship?
Yes, according to the tennis star, and it just happens to be the very person she had to defeat to earn the victory – her sister Serena.
“Without her, I couldn’t have achieved anything,” Venus, 28, tells Shape in the August issue, out Tuesday. “She’s helped me believe in myself.”
The tennis wunderkind, who defeated 26-year-old Serena in two sets Saturday, has faced off against her sister in seven Grand Slam finals, winning the last five. But to Venus, Serena is more than simply family, roommate, constant companion and rival. She’s also Venus’s role model and personal guru, imparting wisdom that gets Venus through tough matches.
“That got me through one final at Wimbledon,” Venus says. “I was also thinking, ‘I want to be like Serena; I want to win like Serena.’ And I did.”
Though the sibling competition is all smiles for the sisters, it’s still too much for father Richard, who said he was flying home and wouldn’t even watch the match on TV because it’s too emotionally difficult.