“Completely the Opposite”: Will Smith Reveals How His Image of Venus and Serena Williams’ Father Changed

Published 11/12/2021, 5:00 AM EST
Serena Williams (R) of the USA celebrates with her father Richard Williams and sister Venus Williams after her Ladies’ Singles final match against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland on day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 7, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


Richard Williams has been the driving force behind his two daughters Venus and Serena Williams. Consequently, he also became an inspiration and an example for fathers across the world. And now, Will Smith, who is playing the tennis queens’ father in King Richard, revealed what he learned from the American coach.

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Notably, Smith’s preconception of Richard Williams changed when he sat with Venus, Serena, their sisters, and mother. In addition, he revealed the lesson he learned about parenting from the King.

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Will Smith on parenting lesson from Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Williams

For a year, Will Smith stayed inside the shoes of Richard Williams, who gave the world two tennis legends. And although he had been looking up to Richard before he got the part, his entire outlook changed once he learned about his life.

“What was really interesting to me is that we all have a picture of Richard Williams, and it’s the classic overbearing father hammering his children. But, in sitting with Venus and Serena and their sisters and their mother, it was completely the opposite. He was a loving, caring, doting father,” Smith said on the Tonight Show.

372178 06: FILE PHOTO: Richard Williams, center, with his daughters Venus, left, and Serena 1991 in Compton, CA. Serena and Venus Williams will be playing against each other for the first time July 6, 2000 in the tennis semifinals at Wimbledon. (Photo by Paul Harris/Online USA)

Additionally, the Academy Award nominee shared how Venus thought of it as a Jedi mind trick. Hence, instead of him forcing them to play, the Williams sisters had to ask him, “Please, daddy, can we play tennis?”

“Their punishment would be that they couldn’t play tennis when they got in trouble,” Smith added.

The Hollywood star got a lesson on parenting from this. Moreover, he emphasized how it’s essential to be aligned with your child’s interests.

“He aligned with what they wanted for themselves more than demanding what he wanted for them,” Smith said. “And, it was a real lesson for me as a parent, recognizing that you want to be in alignment with your kids versus forcing and pushing and demanding, telling them what to do.”

From the looks of it, all parents should keep a notebook and pen in handy while watching ‘King Richard’.

Watch this story: How Serena Williams and Venus Williams Grew Up in Compton

Venus and Serena on Will Smith playing their father in King Richard

Interestingly, both Venus and Serena saw their father’s look and the voice inside of Will Smith. They called it “creepy.”

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However, Smith revealed that the Williams sisters cried through the whole movie and loved it. Similarly, fans cannot wait to witness the legendary tale on the big screen for themselves.

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In the United States, King Richard releases on 19th November 2021. Save the date, tennis fans!

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Purav Joshi

1357 articles

Purav Joshi is a Senior Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 1000 tennis articles.

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