“Going To Be Protective of His Family”: Serena Williams’ Agent Highlights the Importance of Richard Williams in Their Careers

Published 12/15/2021, 2:30 PM EST
Demi Singleton, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Saniyya Sidney attend the 2021 AFI Fest Closing Night Premiere screening for “King Richard” at TCL Chinese theatre in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 14, 2021. REUTERS/Ringo Chiu


American tennis player Serena Williams has been the standout player in the women’s game. She along with her sister Venus has created one of the biggest impacts in the game. They still continue to compete as the top players in the game. 

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Recently, Serena Williams’ agent Jill Smoller spoke about how their father Richard Williams took a keen interest in shaping up the lives of his daughters. He was also involved in matters that were outside the tennis courts.

The agent added, “Yeah, I think in the beginning, you know, it beginning the decision was made and you know, as he was getting older, and you know, he was a renegade, right. I mean, he was somebody way before his time and, and punted in shots for sure. I was gonna say prostate, proselytizing, I can’t pronounce it, but in having a vision for what he saw his success and breaking barriers.”

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Richard Williams gave special attention to Venus and Serena Williams 

She spoke about how Richard liked keeping his people close to him. She mentioned the remarkable deal of Reebok which Venus bagged and on the other hand, Serena received a deal from Puma, which was a big stepping point in their careers.

The former player added, “I mean, Venus’s first Reebok deal was, you know, revolutionary, as was Serena’s Puma deal. And I think he just had a vision. And I think, you know, he just wanted people that he trusted. The inner core was Larry Bailey, who was the financial advisor, Kevin Davis, the attorney.”

Smoller revealed the manner in which Venus was acting as if she were the advisor to Serena. She also mentioned the fact that Richard Williams always wanted the right people to be surrounding his family as he was very protective of them.

The agent further added, “And then, you know, Carlos Fleming and Stephanie Johnson did Venus, and then and then inevitably, I had Serena, and there’s, you know, the sister issue was very involved as well, you know, as sort of a business advisor. But I think Richard, just I think he was about having the, you know, the kind of people he felt were going to be protective of his, his family.”

Serena Williams (L) and Venus Williams touch rackets after Serena Williams defeated Venus Williams 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 during Top Seed Open – Day 4 at the Top Seed Tennis Club on August 13, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

All or nothing for the Williams family 

It was either being on the team or not being included in it. Smoller remembered the manner in which she got included as a close confidant of the family in general. 

The 57-year-old stated, “Right. And, you know, you’re sort of you were on the team, you were either on the team where you were off. But I think, you know, I just think that I developed, you know, you become part of the family, you become part of the family or not, you know, you’re sort of in the woven fabric of the family and understanding how it works, and that it’s an incredibly tight-knit unit.”

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However, after a while, it was Richard who took a step back and allowed his daughters to gain more authority since they were groomed enough to go out about themselves.

Serena Williams of The United States is congratulated by her sister and opponant Venus Williams of The United States following their ladies singles third round match on Day Five of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The former player mentioned, “And, you know, at that time, Richard was sort of taking a step back business-wise, and the girls were starting to take more control of their business and starting to make their own decisions. And that’s sort of you know, how I came in, you know, to have a more prominent role.”

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Coming to tennis, Serena and Venus both did not feature in the US Open. It will be interesting to see how these sisters perform in the upcoming 2022 season. 

Watch this story: The Journey of Roger Federer to the Elite Billionaire’s Club

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Rohan Kollare

1537 articles

Rohan Kollare is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Rohan has studied Sports Management and has a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering Tennis and Formula One.

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