Oracene Price

Oracene Price (born April 3, 1952) is an American tennis coach. She is best known for being both the mother and coach of Venus and Serena Williams, regarded among the best tennis players of all time. She is the former wife of Richard Williams, whom she divorced in 2002.

Oracene Price
Oracene Price.jpg
Price with two of her daughters
Born (1952-04-03) April 3, 1952 (age 68)
Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.
Coaching career (1994–)
Coaching achievements
Coachee Singles Titles total49 (V) - 72 (S) (121 titles)
Coachee(s) Doubles Titles total21 (S-V) - 2 (V) - 5 (S) (28 titles)
List of notable tournaments
(with champion)
Coaching awards and records


Nicknamed "Brandy," Price was born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1952. Her father was an automotive worker from the Mississippi Delta.[1] She graduated from Buena Vista High School in 1970 and from Western Michigan University.[1][2] She has three daughters from a previous marriage with Yusef Rasheed: Yetunde Price (1972–2003),[3] who was a former beauty salon owner and registered nurse; Lyndrea Price, a Web designer; and Isha Price, a lawyer. After Rasheed's death, while working as a nurse, Oracene married Richard Williams and had two more daughters, Venus Williams and Serena Williams. Both Venus and Serena are high-ranked professional tennis players who have won numerous Grand Slam tournaments. She helped her husband as he began coaching Venus and Serena in tennis. The Williams family moved to Florida on the offer of Rick Macci to coach their daughters for free.[4][5]

By the end of 2000, Price was no longer living with her husband Richard Williams, and citing irreconcilable differences, they divorced in 2002. She reverted to her maiden name of Price.[6][7]

During a semifinal match between Serena and Justine Henin at the 2003 French Open, Williams was booed by fans after a complaint about a line call. Price believes that the boos were motivated by race, saying "We, as black people, live with this all the time. It's all about control."[8] Tennis journalist and author L. Jon Wertheim has said of Price "You have to respect anyone incapable of gloss or spin (i.e., unwilling to lie)."[9]

Price describes herself as a deeply spiritual woman.[10] Price also has described herself as being a "rampant feminist" when dealing with what she believes to be the overly sexualized images of women in the media.[11]

She has traveled to Africa with her daughter Serena for charity work, including the construction of schools in Senegal.[10]

Coaching and guidingEdit

Price's coaching has arguably been overshadowed by her role as mother, but as a coach she has been called underappreciated.[12] Price is not a coach in a traditional sense (though she did learn tennis herself to help teach her daughters the technical aspects of the game) and is instead credited, along with Richard Williams, in keeping her daughters focused and disciplined and for helping to build a solid foundation of self-esteem and outside interests for her daughters.[13]

Venus and Serena's "poise under pressure"[14] is often credited to the self-belief instilled in them by their mother. "There's no such thing as pressure," says Price. "As black Americans, that's all we've ever had. It's life. So where's the pressure?"[15] This approach was coupled with, according to noted tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, a respect that meant that neither Price nor Richard Williams raised their voices to their daughters.[16] Journalist Bonnie D. Ford has said that the longevity exhibited by the Williams sisters is directly attributable to their parents and the way that Richard Williams and Price have helped them manage their careers and lives. Ford believes it is especially admirable that Price and her former husband have continued to remain jointly supportive despite their separation.[17]


  1. ^ a b 1967-, Edmondson, Jacqueline (2005). Venus and Serena Williams : a biography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313331650. OCLC 58831607.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "Poll: Do you expect Venus and Serena Williams to return to Saginaw to support the Urban Youth Tennis Foundation?". MLive.com. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  3. ^ "Arrest in killing of tennis stars' half-sister". CNN. 18 January 2004. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  4. ^ Edmonson[clarification needed]
  5. ^ Donaldson[clarification needed]
  6. ^ Wertheim[clarification needed]
  7. ^ Serena and Venus on the fabulous Oracene, mother of the Williams Dynasty Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  8. ^ George Vecsey (26 June 2003). "Theories About Paris From Serena's Mother". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  9. ^ SI.com Tennis Mailbag- The Ultimate Battle
  10. ^ a b "The mother behind the Williams' sisters". Daily Nation. November 25, 2008. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  11. ^ Fein, Paul (2005). You Can Quote Me on That: Greatest Tennis Quips, Insights And Zingers. Washington: Potomac Books. p. 80. ISBN 1-57488-925-7.
  12. ^ "TENNIS.com - Blogs - String Theory by Tom Perrotta". 2008. p. 2.
  13. ^ "TENNIS.com - Blogs - Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor". Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  14. ^ "Serena Williams poised despite mounting pressure". USA Today. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  15. ^ S. L. Price (May 31, 1999). "Who's Your Daddy?". Sports Illustrated. CNN. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2009.
  16. ^ "Bollettieri had a hand in grooming 10 players who hit No. 1" Archived 2011-07-14 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  17. ^ "Williams sisters' parents deserve accolades for job well-done". ESPN.com. 2008-08-27. Retrieved March 11, 2009.

Further readingEdit