Richard Williams (tennis coach)

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

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 78)
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

Early lifeEdit

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] For a time, the family resided on East 79th Street near railroad tracks.[3]

Richard graduated from high school and moved to Chicago[3] and eventually to California.[4]

Tennis coachingEdit

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.[5]

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).[6] 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".[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Williams has been married multiple 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 maternal half-sister Katrina.[7]

In 1979, he met Oracene "Brandy" Price, who had three daughters by her 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.

Richard has an unspecified number of other children, including Chavoita LeSane.[8] One adult son appeared courtside in 2011.[9]

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 divorce from Oracene Price and appearances with new girlfriend Lakeisha Juanita Graham who was a grocery store owner[10] and is a year older than Venus.[4] Richard and Lakeisha were married in 2010 and divorced in 2017.[8][10] Their son Dylan was born in 2012.[11]

In July 2016, Williams suffered a stroke. Lakeisha Williams, his wife at the time, stated that his condition was fair.[12] He subsequently suffered additional strokes.[8]


  • With Bart Davis, Black and White: The Way I See It (New York: Atria Books, 2014, ISBN 978-1476704203).[13]


  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. ^ Edmondson (2005), p. 47.
  6. ^ a b Jago, Richard (July 4, 2009). "Richard Williams leaves Venus and Serena to take centre stage". The Guardian. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  7. ^
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Crosley, Hillary (May 18, 2013). "Intimate Look at the Williams Sisters". Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  10. ^ 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. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help)
  11. ^ Cronin, Matt (October 24, 2012). "Williams Sisters Have New Little Brother". Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  12. ^ "Wife: Richard Williams had stroke, needs therapy". 16 July 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  13. ^ "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 linksEdit