Richard Williams, a tennis coach, took up the challenge to raise his daughters as Tennis players. Many years after that decision, the world came to know two phenomenal sports champions, Venus and Serena Williams.
Richard Williams became a tennis coach after watching and admiring pro female tennis players. He also decided then that his daughters would learn the game and be good at it.
However, Richards’ daughters Venus and Serena Williams surpassed the achievements of becoming successful tennis players to become two of the bests the world has ever seen. Here is an inspiring story of how Richard believed in them.
Who is Richard Williams?
Richard Williams, a Louisiana-born former football player, was the only son of five children. After high school, Richard lived in Michigan and moved to California.
It was in Michigan that he met and married Oracene Price, his second wife. He was earlier married to Betty Johnson, with whom he had three children.
His marriage to Price was blended because she had three children from a previous marriage. Richard and Price became parents once again and welcomed their daughters, Venus and Serena Williams.
Venus was born in 1980, the same year her parents tied the knot. Serena followed the following year, and it was after her birth that the family moved to California.
Training His Daughters
Richard’s interest in tennis did not start for the love of the game as much as the prize money that came with it. He had been surfing TV in his Long Beach home when he stumbled upon a tennis match.
After watching for a while and seeing the financial success that came with the game, Richard concluded that his daughters would become Tennis stars.
He started off by becoming a coach, but all the while, his daughters were still too young. He and Oracene would wheel their daughter in their strollers to the court, and the girls would watch their parents practice.
Venus got her first tennis lesson at the age of four, and from then, there was no going back. Serena was three years old, and she would tag along, begging to be allowed to play tennis.
While he got the Williams sisters ready physically, Richard Williams also prepared them mentally. His style was to help them overcome the fear of criticism.
He once shared in a CNN sports interview: “In order to be successful you must prepare for the unexpected, and I wanted to prepare for that. Criticism can bring the best out of you.”
Where Is The Dad Coach And His Champion Daughters Now?
Venus Williams was 17 years old when she played the first tennis match against the woman who later became her greatest on-the-court rival: her sister, Serena Williams. The now mom-of-one was only 16 when the two met at the 1998 Australian Open.
Venus won that match and the rematch that was fixed that same year at the Italian Open. From that point on, the sisters took the tennis world by storm, revolutionizing the game and taking home an unprecedented number of championships and trophies.
Combined, they have won 122 singles titles, including 30 Grand Slam singles titles, and earned over $175 million in prize money. And while they’re considered rivals on the court, they share a close relationship — together, they’ve won 22 doubles titles as teammates, 14 of which have been in Grand Slam competitions.
In 2017, Richard became the first Black person inducted into the American Tennis Association (ATA) Hall of Fame. Earlier, he was also inducted into the Black Tennis Hall of Fame.
He suffered a stroke in July 2016. Since then, he has suffered from additional strokes. After his health issues, Williams has been seen occasionally in the stands during his daughter’s matches.
An HBO-Max movie was recently released, and it portrays Richard and his daughters’ stories to stardom. The ”King Richard” movie, which is based on the life of Richard Williams, was released on November 19.