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The Truth About Venus And Serena Williams’ Relationship With Their Father

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On November 19, 2021, fans of tennis’ reigning siblings will get an inside look at the tragic real-life story of Venus and Serena Williams and learn more about the man who made them tennis superstars — dad Richard Williams — when a biopic based on their father’s life, titled “King Richard,” hits theaters and HBO Max. So who is the real Richard Williams?

 

 

Richard Williams had big dreams for Venus and Serena before they were born

 

 

Richard Williams began training his daughters when they were four years old, but as he told CTV in 2014, he had big plans for Venus and Serena Williams long before that. Revealing that he penned a “78-page manifesto” before they were born in which he planned out his would-be daughters’ tennis domination, he admitted, “A lot [of] people used to think I was crazy because I used to walk around with a sign, ‘Number 1 girls in the world.'”

Richard Williams wasn’t afraid to literally fight for his daughters

 

 

 

 

Once they were old enough, Venus and Serena Williams played “three or four hours a day,” but not before their dad fought gangs off the courts. He was so committed that he didn’t back down after an altercation left him with several broken ribs and 10 missing teeth. “To this day, [I] wear my ‘toothlessness’ as a badge of courage,'” Richard wrote in his biography, “Black and White: The Way I See It.”

He then returned to face off against a gang’s leader — and won. “It had taken two years and almost destroyed my body and my spirit, but in that moment, none of that mattered. What mattered was the courts were ours,” Richard reminisced.

 

 

Richard Williams has no qualms about protecting his daughters from media

Richard Williams has always had his daughters’ backs, In a clip, which recently resurfaced on Twitter, Venus, who would, as Sports Illustrated recounted, go on to become the first Black female player to reach “best player in the world” status in 2002, was asked if she thought she could win an upcoming match. “I know I can beat her […] I’m very confident,” she professed. And when the interviewer asked why she was able to “say it so easily,” the budding superstar fired off, “Cause I believe it.”

At that moment, Richard stepped in and said, “What she said, she said it with so much confidence the first time, but you keep going on and on.” Venus’ dad pointed out that they were “dealing with [the] image of a 14-year-old child,” before stating, “This child gonna be out there playing when your old a** and me gonna be in the grave.” He went on to add, “You’re dealing with a little Black kid, and let her be a kid. She just answered you with a lot of confidence. Leave that alone!”

The life-changing advice Richard Williams gave Venus and Serena

Richard Williams didn’t just teach Venus and Serena Williams on the court; he passed on invaluable life lessons that would serve his daughters for years to come. First, he instilled in his girls the greatest lesson his own mother, Julia Mae Williams, taught him: “You got to be rough, you’ve got to be tough, and you’ve got to be strong,” he shared with CTV. He also endorsed “a hierarchy of values” they’d never forget in which tennis wasn’t their be-all and end-all, per The Guardian. As the outlet noted, Richard taught “God first, family second, education third, business fourth, and then only tennis — some way back in fifth place.”

Richard Williams may raise eyebrows but his daughters don’t mind

Richard made headlines for holding up six different signs, per Daily Press, including ones that read, “The British fans are the best in the world” and “I need an ice-cold Coca-Cola.” When his daughter won, he held up a board that proclaimed, “It’s Venus’ party and no-one’s invited.” The move raised eyebrows, as did the fact that he allegedly shouted “Straight outta Compton!” before jumping over the NBC broadcasting booth, per The Guardian, to perform “a triumphant dance.” Chris Evert, a former tennis player-turned-commentator claimed that the commentators in the booth “thought the roof was coming down,” per Deadline.

Serena Williams credits her dad as the ‘most important person’ in her career

Serena Williams felt his absence and she made that clear on numerous occasions. When she won in Miami in April, she told reporters, per The Guardian, “I would like to dedicate this to my dad, he’s not here. I miss him, I hope he’s watching,” she said, adding, “I love you daddy and this one’s for you.” Then, at a post-match press conference in August, she called him “the most important person in my career” and shared, “I do miss my dad, obviously. I try to reach out to him a lot. He still tells me things I’m not doing right.”

Richard Williams couldn’t be prouder of his superstar daughters

Unsurprisingly, Serena and Venus Williams’ dad is a big fan of his legendary kids. “He always tells me I’m so good and he’s so proud of me and he can’t imagine how good I am,” Serena once said of Richard Williams (via NBC Sports), adding, “He always says, ‘Don’t put pressure on yourself. Be happy with what you have.'”

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