Like two sisters trading a secret diary, Venus and Serena Williams have been swapping tennis’ history books back and forth for nearly two decades. Today at Wimbledon, they’ll carry a shared one onto Centre Court, foes there for the first time in six years. Lately, the book has been stored in Serena’s room, tucked on a shelf as she’s etched her name into it more and more the last few years, a steady flow of chapters on Grand Slam titles, passages about weeks at No. 1 and stories of accolades coming from every corner of the sporting world.
It’s the same book that sat on Venus’ mantle, herself a five-time Wimbledon champion (just like Serena) and former world No. 1. Since 2011, when Venus announced she was living with the autoimmune deficiency Sjogren’s Syndrome, the writing of her story has been more about perseverance than it has been about records, titles or major triumphs. But Monday that book comes back to Centre Court, and back to Venus and Serena. It’s a moment when Serena, winner at both the Australian and French Opens so far this year, is more than halfway to a career-first calendar Grand Slam.