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And also a lot of fun for the competitors. Williams entered the past two nights with her dog, Harold, dressed in a dog-sized Washington warm-up shirt. Williams was off the bench cheering her teammates when she wasn’t on the court.

It took the Kastles some time to adjust, though. The tennis league typically wraps up in midsummer after a three-week long season. This time, organizers pushed it to September because of the Olympic tennis competition and the string of established tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open.

Paes said the team was out of synch on Saturday night as it rallied to defeat the New York Sportimes and John McEnroe for the Eastern Conference finals. He never doubted his club would end on top. “We find solutions. We always have in my four seasons here,” said Paes, the world’s fifth ranked doubles player who completed the career Grand Slam with a doubles title at the Australian Open last winter.

Williams as a big part of Washington’s solution this time around. She smiled wide as she posed with teammates on Billie Jean King Court, the venue re-christening its main court for the tennis icon last April. Williams was grateful for the victory and excited about what’s she’s accomplished, both on and off the tennis court.

“This whole year’s been a fight,” Williams said. “But for me, the year’s been incredibly successful because of what I’ve been up against.”