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Williams sisters start 2017 v All Blacks

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/01/2017

A sellout crowd has watched All Blacks brothers Julian and Ardie Savea take on Serena and Venus Williams at a charity tennis match in New Zealand.

The sisters versus brothers match-up at the ASB Tennis Arena in Auckland on Sunday afternoon was given the thumbs up from both sets of sporting siblings, who raised $65,000 for earthquake-affected Kaikoura.

Venus Williams said the brothers were awesome and it was a great show.

"I couldn't stop laughing," she said.

The brothers said they were nervous and "kind of star struck" before the event but enjoyed themselves. Family and friends were jealous of the opportunity to meet the Williams sisters.

A big tennis racket was provided at one point to give them a better chance and third seed Caroline Wozniacki also helped out.

Earlier, Serena Williams said she had been enjoying the "awesome" food in Auckland since she touched down on Friday morning as news broke of her engagement to Alexis Ohanian, a Reddit co-founder.

She spent Saturday on Waiheke Island in the Huaraki Gulf with her fiance.

"I've never been in Auckland and so I've never had an opportunity to be first in the world to welcome in this new year, so this is a new experience for me and the fact that I'm still having new experiences this deep into my career makes me feel really good."

Williams will take on Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier on Monday in her first round match.

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