Richard Williams (tennis coach)

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Richard Williams
Richard Williams at Acura Classic.jpg
Williams at the 2007 Acura Classic
Born (1942-02-16) February 16, 1942 (age 76)
Shreveport, Louisiana, United States of America
Coaching career (1994–)
Coaching achievements
Coachee Singles Titles total 45(V)-64(S) (109 titles)
Coachee(s) Doubles Titles total 21(S-V)-2(V)-5(S) (28 titles)
List of notable tournaments
(with champion)
Coaching awards and records

Richard Williams (born February 16, 1942)[1] is an American tennis coach, and father of Venus and Serena Williams.

Early life[edit]

Williams was one of six children and the only son of Julia Mae Williams of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Richard graduated from high school, moved to Chicago, and eventually to California,[2] where he met Betty Johnson, whom he married in 1965. They had three daughters and three sons before divorcing in 1973.[1] In 1979 Williams met Oracene Price, who had three daughters by her late husband. They married in 1980 after Venus was born,[1] and settled in Compton.


Richard Williams seen with his daughters shortly after Serena Williams' victory in the 2012 Wimbledon Championships

He took tennis lessons from a man known as "Old Whiskey" and decided his future daughters would be tennis professionals when he saw Virginia Ruzici playing on television.[1] Williams says that he wrote up a 78-page plan, and started giving lessons to Venus and Serena when they were four and a half, and began taking them to the public tennis courts. (He now says he feels like he took them too early, and six is a better age.)[2] Soon he got them into Shreveport tennis tournaments. In 1995, Williams pulled them out of a tennis academy, and coached them himself.[3]

Serena won the US Open in 1999; Venus beat Lindsay Davenport to win the 2000 Wimbledon title. After that victory, Richard shouted "Straight Outta Compton!" (in reference to a song by N.W.A based on that area in Los Angeles) and jumped over the NBC broadcasting booth, catching Chris Evert by surprise and performing a triumphant dance. Evert said that the broadcasters "thought the roof was coming down".[4]

Personal life[edit]

Later in his daughters' careers, he took a less visible role, turning to other interests such as photography. He raised public interest again after his 2002 divorce from Oracene Price and his appearances with new girlfriend Lakeisha Graham, who is a year older than Venus.[2] Richard and Lakeisha were married in 2010. Their son, Dylan Starr Williams, was born in 2012.[5]

In July 2016, Williams suffered a stroke prior to his daughters Venus and Serena winning Wimbledon. His wife stated that his condition is fair.[6]


  • With Bart Davis, Black and White: The Way I See It (New York: Atria Books, 2014, ISBN 978-1476704203).[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Edmondson, Jacqueline (2005). Venus and Serena Williams: A Biography. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-33165-0. 
  2. ^ a b c Wiedeman, Reeves, "Tiger Dad: Child's Play", The New Yorker, June 2, 2014, pp. 24–25.
  3. ^ Edmondson (2005), p. 47.
  4. ^ Richard Jago, "Richard Williams leaves Venus and Serena to take centre stage", The Guardian, July 4, 2009.
  5. ^ "Venus Williams has a young new fan as her father, 71, brings his baby son to her tournament". Mail Online. March 22, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Wife: Richard Williams had stroke, needs therapy". ESPN. 16 July 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2016. 
  7. ^ "Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, reveals tough childhood that included disguising as Klansman in 'Black and White: The Way I See It'", Daily News, April 20, 2014.

External links[edit]