"I remember ... " Serena said, starting to giggle. "Sorry."
"Oh no," Venus said.
"I remember my Dad told Venus ... You remember this?" Serena said, half telling the story, half talking to Venus about it.
"He told Venus to cross ... You remember now?''
"No, I can't," Venus said. And then she started to giggle, too.
It was a story about when they were kids, playing doubles together. In doubles, a player crosses in front of her partner, poaches, at the net during a point if there's a chance to hit a winner.
"He told Venus she had to cross more," Serena said, laughter building, "and so I think she got upset and she crossed when the person was serving. She ended up volleying the (return of) serve. Oh, it was so funny.''
'I remember that," Venus said.
"You remember that?" Serena said.
The Williams sisters won the French Open women's doubles title Friday, beating Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik 6-2, 6-3. Venus and Serena will move to No. 1 in the world doubles rankings.
But more importantly, they are the current champions of all four women's doubles major titles.
"We have a Williams slam," Serena said.
"Yeah, the Williams slam in doubles," Venus said.
This was a nice moment, seeing the sisters sitting together, giggling and telling stories with their guard down.
I've wondered at times why they even bother playing doubles. The money, the fame, the credit all comes with singles. Why bother with the extra work, and the strain on their bodies?
But over the past week, I've seen why. I have found myself wandering out to the courts to watch them, bypassing other singles matches going on to see them playing doubles together. Sometimes, they are on outer courts with small crowds.
It's something different watching them play doubles. They do it beautifully together. When they play singles against each other, the matches are always more a celebration of them as the Great American Story than of tennis. They never play well against each other.
It's awkward, and maybe the reason is that the vision never was about them going against each other. That's not why their parents took them to the courts as little kids, hitting half-dead balls out of a shopping cart in Compton, Calif.
The vision was always of them together, not apart. That's why Richard Williams, their father, can't seem to bring himself to watch them go against each other in singles.
"We're the longest-standing doubles team," Venus said. "We've been playing since the '80s together. We've got quite a record.
"We don't even remember the first time. It's been forever."
It will last forever, too. Top doubles team Liezel Huber and Cara Black, who had the No. 1 ranking because the Williams sisters don't play enough doubles to gather dominant rankings points, broke up recently. It was ugly, with Huber calling Black a choker and Black saying that Huber is classless.
Have you ever noticed that you never see the Williams sisters bickering? Or breaking up? It has been an amazing dynamic, really, after all they've been through together.
At first, Venus got all the attention, and then Serena became the better player and the bigger celebrity. Now Serena is ranked No. 1 in singles and Venus No. 2. Venus says she's coming after that No. 1 ranking.
Wouldn't you think somewhere along the way through all of that, even sisters would have had some serious issues? If there have been any, we haven't seen them.
Instead, all these years later, on Friday, I saw two young girls in their late 20s, sitting together, giggling.
"I think it was just innate," Serena said. "We were always taught to love each other. We were brought up very spiritually, Jehovah's Witnesses, to love one another and not to fight so much ...
Serena plays the forehand side of the court, the deuce side, and Venus the backhand side because Richard told them when they were little that Serena was younger and weaker. She had to have the forehand.
They have never changed.
Doubles seems less stressful to them, and it's not just because the spotlight is on singles. It is where they can be themselves, express themselves best.
Both players had to take the doubles court shortly after losing in singles here, which is pure commitment.
They take it seriously, play not for fun but for titles, Venus said. I'm sure that's part of it.
You hear players talk about the benefits of doubles, that it helps them to become better singles players. I don't think that's it at all for Venus and Serena.
They just seem to belong together, and this is the place to do it.
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