They thought, at the time, that Venus and Serena Williams would play many more US Open singles finals against each other.
So the US Open decided it was time to give the women their own platform, where for years the women’s singles final had been squished between the men’s semifinals on the Saturday.
And so, celebrities descended upon the BJK National Tennis Center (Mary Tyler Moore!!!!) two nervous young women tried to rise to the occasion.
It seems quaint now, nearly 20 years later. But it was a massive deal at the time. And, as I wrote in a column at the time, it seemed as if it was just the first of what would be so many Grand Slam finals between the sisters.
At the time, Venus had just turned 21; Serena was about to turn 19.
They played only one more US Open final, the following year. Venus, who won this one, won that one as well. And it was the last US Open she made.
Here’s the match.