Venus Williams is undoubtedly one of the best tennis players in the world. During her prime, Venus was the undisputed queen of the tennis court. And she owes her father for much of her success, training both his daughters to tolerate no nonsense from anybody. Tennis used to be a predominantly white sport, but the Williams sisters absolutely crushed anybody who stood in their way.
Recently, a video of a 14-year-old Venus started circulating on social media. In the viral clip, a very confident Venus can be seen telling a white reporter that she can easily defeat her opponent.
However, when the interviewer pushed back a bit, Venus’ father Richard Williams came to her immediate defense. He reminded the interviewer, that he was essentially dealing with a child. He did not mince words and added that the child would continue playing even when both of them were in their graves.
Venus Williams’s father schools white journalist on how to interview a 14-year-old Black girl (1995) pic.twitter.com/8Xl9kPb9hH
— AFRICAN & BLACK HISTORY (@AfricanArchives) August 10, 2023
The viral clip is from 1995, for an ABC News Day One interview by John McKenzie. This particular clip was also included in the documentary Venus and Serena, which depicted their journey.
Since the clip has found traction once again, fans are lauding Richard for his words. Fans have not taken kindly to McKenzie either. Commenting about the journalist, a fan commented, “He tryna break her spirit and make her feel less.”
He tryna break her spirit and make her feel less, good lord she has a good, smart and protect dad.
— Akanni ❣️ Ẹkùn 🇳🇬🇧🇻 (@Vinzi005) August 10, 2023
McKenzie being stunned by young Venus’ confidence is representative of the limitations imposed on Black players. Venus and Serena Williams charted their own path to glory while actively countering racial stereotypes. They also have Richard to thank for it.
Richard Williams has always backed his daughters
The Williams sisters have achieved a lot of things in life, not just limited to titles on the tennis court. They broke the glass ceiling multiple times and did not shy away from ruffling a few feathers. It did not come easily though, with being subjected to racial discrimination since they were young. However, Richard did whatever he could to toughen them up.
His methods could be described as unconventional and extreme, but he wanted his daughters to be prepared for the worst. This meant that he let them face abuse from white children while they were growing up.
— EleVen by Venus (@EleVenbyVenus) October 8, 2015
Richard believes that one must be prepared for the unexpected. “Criticism can bring the best out of you,” said Richard once (via CNN).
Richard faced his fair share of discrimination growing up. He once saw his friend being lynched, and another one being run over by a white woman. The woman had, unsurprisingly, blamed the victim for being at fault.
Richard’s unconventional training came to use when Serena and Venus were booed viciously by the crowd at Indian Wells. Just a day prior, Venus had pulled out of the match against her sister citing an injury. This greatly displeased the crowd and so they resorted to jeering.
Since then, the Williams have come a long way. Serena retired with 23 Grand Slams while Venus has 7 and is still playing. Richard still helps Venus whenever she needs help. They are a closely-knit family and their love for each other shines through.