Richard Williams (tennis coach)

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Richard Williams
Richard Williams at Acura Classic.jpg
Williams at the 2007 Acura Classic
Born (1942-02-14) February 14, 1942 (age 77)
Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Coaching career (1994–)
Coaching achievements
Coachee Singles Titles total45(V)-64(S) (109 titles)
Coachee(s) Doubles Titles total21(S-V)-2(V)-5(S) (28 titles)
List of notable tournaments
(with champion)
Coaching awards and records
Records

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

Early life[edit]

Williams was one 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]

Richard graduated from high school, moved to Chicago, and eventually to California,[4] where he met Betty Johnson, whom he married in 1965. They had three sons and at least two daughters — including Richard III,[5] Ronner,[6] Sabrina,[7] and Chavoita[8] — before divorcing in 1973.[2] In 1979 Williams met Oracene Price, who had three daughters by her late husband. Together they had a daughter Venus, who was born on June 17, 1980, and a daughter Serena, born on September 26, 1981. Richard and Oracene married in 1980[2] and settled in Compton.

Career[edit]

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.[2] 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.)[4] Soon he got them into Shreveport tennis tournaments. In 1995, Williams pulled them out of a tennis academy, and coached them himself.[9]

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".[10]

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.[4] Richard and Lakeisha were married in 2010 and divorced in 2017.[11] Their son, Dylan Starr Richard Williams, was born in 2012.[12]

Williams has children besides those from his three marriages, including a son, who appeared courtside in 2011.[13]

In July 2016, Williams suffered a stroke prior to his daughters Venus and Serena winning Wimbledon. His wife stated that his condition is fair.[14]

Books[edit]

  • With Bart Davis, Black and White: The Way I See It (New York: Atria Books, 2014, ISBN 978-1476704203).[15]

References[edit]

External links[edit]