Richard Williams (tennis coach)

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Richard Williams
Richard Williams at Acura Classic.jpg
Williams at the 2007 Acura Classic
Full nameRichard Dove Williams Jr.
Born (1942-02-14) February 14, 1942 (age 79)
Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
Coaching career (1994–present)
Coaching achievements
Coachee Singles Titles total49(V)-73(S) (122 titles)
Coachee(s) Doubles Titles total21(S-V)-2(V)-5(S) (28 titles)
List of notable tournaments
(with champion)
Coaching awards and records

Richard Dove Williams Jr.[1] (born February 14, 1942)[2] is an American tennis coach and the father of Venus and Serena Williams.

Early life[edit]

Williams was the oldest of five children[3] and the only son of Julia Mae Metcalf (died 1985) and Richard Dove Williams Sr. of Shreveport, Louisiana. His younger sisters are Pat, Barbara, Penny, and Faye.[1] For a time, the family resided on East 79th Street near railroad tracks.[3]

Williams graduated from high school and moved to Saginaw, Michigan[3] and eventually to California.[4]

Tennis coaching[edit]

Williams 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.[2] Williams says that he wrote up an 85-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.[5] He would later add that he felt like he took them too early, and the age of six would have been more suitable.[4] Soon he got them into Shreveport tennis tournaments. In 1995, Williams pulled them out of a tennis academy, and coached them himself.[6]

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 in Compton, California, the same area in Los Angeles where the family once resided.[7] He 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".[7]

Personal life[edit]

Williams has been married three times.

After moving to California, he met Betty Johnson. They married in 1965 and had five children (three sons and two daughters) before divorcing in 1973:[2] Sabrina, Richard III, Ronner, Reluss, and Reneeka, who were also raised with Betty's other daughter, Katrina.[8]

In 1979, he met Oracene "Brandy" Price, who had three daughters by her then deceased husband. They married in 1980. Williams and Price had two biological daughters, Venus (born June 17, 1980) and Serena (born September 26, 1981). The family resided in Compton, California. Richard and Oracene divorced in 2002.

He raised public interest again after his divorce from Oracene Price and appearances with new girlfriend Lakeisha Juanita Graham who was a grocery store owner[9] and is a year older than Venus.[4] In 2010, Richard and Lakeisha were married and their son Dylan was born in 2012.[10] They later divorced in 2017.[11][9]

Richard also has other children, including Chavoita LeSane.[11] One adult son was present court-side at a tennis game in 2011.[12]

Late in his daughters' careers, he took a less visible role, turning to other interests such as photography.

In July 2016, Williams suffered a stroke. Lakeisha Williams, his wife at the time, stated that his condition was stable.[13] However, he subsequently suffered additional strokes.[11]

In popular culture[edit]

Richard Williams' biographical film King Richard starring Will Smith was released on November 19, 2021 to theaters by Warner Bros. Pictures and streaming on HBO MAX. The film is directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and written by Zach Baylin.


  • With Bart Davis, Black and White: The Way I See It (New York: Atria Books, 2014, ISBN 978-1476704203).[14]


  1. ^ a b Williams, Richard; Davis, Bart (2017). Black and White: The Way I See It. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781476704210 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c Edmondson, Jacqueline (2005). Venus and Serena Williams: A Biography. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 14. ISBN 0-313-33165-0.
  3. ^ a b c Williams, Richard (April 20, 2014). "Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, reveals tough childhood that included disguising as a Klansman in 'Black and White: The Way I See It'". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Wiedeman, Reeves (June 2, 2014). "Tiger Dad: Child's Play". The New Yorker. pp. 24–25.
  5. ^ Lewis, Gabrielle (July 6, 2000). "Paternal instinct". BBC Sport. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  6. ^ Edmondson (2005), p. 47.
  7. ^ a b Jago, Richard (July 4, 2009). "Richard Williams leaves Venus and Serena to take centre stage". The Guardian. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  8. ^ "Serena and Venus' half-sister calls dad a 'sperm donor' who abandoned first family". January 10, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Kleinberg, Eliot (June 15, 2017). "NEW: Father of Venus, Serena Williams seeks divorce from second wife". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  10. ^ Cronin, Matt (October 24, 2012). "Williams Sisters Have New Little Brother". Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Magee, NY (December 19, 2018). "Serena And Venus Williams' Disabled Father Reportedly Needs Son To Interpret As He Battles Ex Wife". Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  12. ^ Crosley, Hillary (May 18, 2013). "Intimate Look at the Williams Sisters". Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  13. ^ "Wife: Richard Williams had stroke, needs therapy". July 16, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  14. ^ "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]