Richard Williams (tennis coach)

Richard Williams (tennis coach)

Richard Williams
Williams at the 2007 Acura Classic
Born (1942-02-16) February 16, 1942
Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Coaching career (1994–)
Coaching achievements
Coachee Singles Titles total 45(V)-64(S) (109 titles)
Coachee(s) Doubles Titles total 21(S-V)-2(V)-5(S) (28 titles)
List of notable tournaments
(with champion)
Coaching awards and records

Richard Williams (born February 16, 1942[1]) is an American tennis coach, and father of Venus and Serena Williams.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Books 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

He was one of six children and only son of single mother Julia Mae Williams of Shreveport, Louisiana. His father abused his mother before abandoning the family altogether.[2] He graduated from high school, moved to Chicago, and eventually to California,[3] where he met Betty Johnson, whom he married in 1965. They had two daughters and three sons before divorcing in 1973.[1] Williams met Oracene Price in 1979, who had three daughters by her late husband. They married in 1980 after Venus was born,[1] and lived for a time in Saginaw, Michigan, but eventually moved to Compton.


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.[1] He 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.)[3] Soon he got them into Shreveport tennis tournaments. In 1995, Richard pulled them out of a tennis academy, and coached them himself.

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".

Personal life

Later in his daughter's 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.[3] Richard and Lakeisha were married in 2010. Their son, Dylan Starr Williams, was born during 2012.[4]


  • With Bart Davis, Black and White: The Way I See It (New York: Altria Books, 2014), forthcoming.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Edmondson, Jacqueline (2005). Venus and Serena Williams: A Biography.  
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c Wiedeman, Reeves, "Tiger Dad: Child's Play," The New Yorker, June 2, 2014, pp. 24-25.
  4. ^ "Venus Williams has a young new fan as her father, 71, brings his baby son to her tournament - Daily Mail Online". Mail Online. 

External links

  •, about the Indian Wells incident