Richard Williams told people his young
daughter would be better than Venus
It was just a normal humid day on the family estate in Palm Beach Garden some 17 years ago when the father of the two most famous sisters in the history of women’s tennis made the statement.
“Serena will be better than Venus,” Richard Williams emphatically said to me.
Mind you that I had been around Richard long enough to not believe absolutely everything he says, but it was an explanation behind his statement.
“I think that everything happened so fast for Venus that she’s not working as hard. Serena wants what Venus has and is willing to fight for it.”
No parent will ever say publically that one child is better than the other whether in sport or anything, so there were no ill intention for Richard to say what he did. Who knew if he even meant it.
Venus has just turned pro and Serena was just her little sister, albeit one year younger.
But after winning her 16th major in Paris last week to move into fourth all time, Serena is on the cusp of not only being the best Black tennis player of all time, but the best women’s player ever.
Her straight set victory at the French put her two majors behind Chris Everet (18), three behind Helen Woody (19), six behind Setffi Graft (22) and 8 behind the all time best Margaret Court (24).
Not bad for a 31-year old who in the past 10 months has had two foot operations and treatment for blood clots in her lungs that was near life threatening.
"But it's all about, for me, how you recover," she continued. "I think I've always said a champion isn't about how much they win, but it's about how they recover from their downs, whether it's an injury or whether it's a loss."
Venus has won seven majors and combined the two have capture 23 majors.
Remarkable indeed when you reflect on where the sisters came from. Serena was born in Michigan and Venus in Lynwood, but both grew up in Compton and during one recent championship victory Serena did a little tipping dance to demonstrate that.
However, none of this would have been possible had Richard never set aside his security business years ago to train Venus and Serena to play tennis.
It would have never happened if he would have believed people when they said he was crazy, that tennis is a white sport.
It would have never happened if Richard didn’t meet their mother Oracene “Brandy” Price who shared those lofty dreams Richard had.
But it is happening, and both Venus and Serena are millionaires 100 times over.
Richard has since remarried and has a new infant son, but at 71 and all it took to get Venus and Serena to where they are now, young son Dylan can just chill.