IN THE BEGINNING! Williams with daughters Venus( left) and Serena as children.
Richard Williams, father and former coach of Serena and Venus Williams, will be the first inductee of the American Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame.
Richard Williams, father and former coach of Serena and Venus Williams, is set to be honored by the American Tennis Association on Wednesday night as he becomes the first inductee of the organization’s Hall of Fame.
Richard’s incredible coaching efforts – teaching Venus and Serena without any prior knowledge or playing experience – will be immortalized at the ATA’s Hall of Fame ceremony at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, and August 2 will be deemed “Richard Williams Day”.
Williams also was inducted into the Black Tennis Hall of Fame in Atlanta last week.
The Williams sisters have both held the WTA World No.1 ranking during their career and have combined for 30 Grand Slam singles titles – including Serena’s historic 23 in the Open era and Venus’ seven – as well as 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, two Olympic gold medals in singles and three Olympic gold medals in doubles.
“It goes without saying what my dad has done for Serena and I, and changing the game of tennis, and for what he’s done for the sport, too,” Venus told The Philadelphia Tribune last week. “I’m forever grateful. I’m so excited for his honor.”
“[Richard] went from scratch, not knowing anything about the game other than seeing the pot he wanted to bring monetarily … and he learned the game and he taught it to his daughters,” said Dr. Franklyn Scott, ATA President of Education to the LA Sentinel.
“The Williams story has impacted so many African American children. A lot of the African American young females, they talk about ‘I want to hit like Serena’ and ‘I want to volley like Venus.’”
The ATA is celebrating 100 years of dedication to the African-American tennis community as the oldest African-American sports organization in the nation.