Serena unfolds her latest plot, to play against the German. Venus looks for her own man. The music they listen to is from groups such as Rancid and Hole and Green Day and Bad Religion, groups Brandi can't and doesn't want to understand. The conversation is about jewelry and clothes and, well, the perpetual topic of all teenage girls. Boys. Men. Serena has been talking with Gustavo Kuerten, the cute guy who won the French Open last year; and Venus thinks Patrick Rafter's third-round demise in Melbourne was due mainly to a black shirt that neither sister thought looked good on him; and together Serena and Venus and their friend Alexandra Stephenson, a junior player from California, have made a top-10 list of men on the tour, a list not just for looks but also for playing ability and....
"So who's No. 1 on the list?" Serena is asked.
"Ohhhh, Pete," she replies, meaning Sampras. "Pete would beat me 6-0, 6-0 until my dying day if we played."
No, that's not right. Is it? Where's that teenage confidence?
"I take that back," Serena says. "If I played him this year, it would be 6-0, 6-0. But next year, after I've improved, I say it would be 6-2, 6-2."
The German will be a start.