“Definitely Hard”: How Serena Williams Felt When Venus Got a Coach And She Didn’t

Published 11/29/2021, 8:26 AM EST
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)


Serena Williams and Venus Williams are a superhero duo in tennis. The whole world knows their names and their talents. Now, with the release of ‘King Richard’, the world knows their story, too.

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The biographical drama tells the story of the Williams sisters, and how Serena and her elder sister Venus fought to rise to the top of the tennis world.

Serena Williams used to watch Venus’ training footage

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16 Jan 1998: Teenage tennis sisters from America, Venus (left) and Serena Williams take time off a practice session to pose together during the Adidas International event at White City in Sydney, Australia. Mandatory Credit: Clive Brunskill/Allsport

As depicted in the movie, the sisters’ father, Richard Williams enlisted the help of coach Paul Cohen. However, Cohen only agreed to coach one of the sisters for free. Consequently, Serena had to stay at home while Venus trained.

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Richard Williams remained equally concerned with Serena’s game, too. Thus, he recorded all the training sessions and brought them home for Serena to watch and train. Serena herself recalls that period where she trained with her mother, watching those tapes. “It (that period) was definitely hard, but also at the same time, I knew I wasn’t on that level yet,” Serena Williams says in an interview with USA Today.

On working with her mother instead of a professional coach, Serena revealed, “I really did not like working with my mom because she was so tough.” Furthermore, she shared what she learned from that time on the court with her mother. “I had to just have a lot more tenacity than I thought I could have ever had,” she revealed.

Serena’s mother gave her some tough love on the court

Serena Williams next to her mother Oracene Williams

In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Serena revealed how she felt about training with her mother. She shared how she despised being on the court. Furthermore, the young Serena Williams was even prone to throwing tantrums on the court during her training!

Serena revealed how she would often express her ‘hatred’ for the Compton court that she trained on by herself. She even admitted to crying, but her mother, Oracene remained unperturbed. Her tough love is what Serena credits her own never-back-down attitude and resilience to.

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Serena Williams does not shy away from the admission that she is a product of the women who came before her. Not only is she grateful to her mother for training her, but she also expresses her gratitude to her sister Venus for opening so many doors for her and other women in the sport. “Venus had also opened so many doors. All I had to do was walk through it.”

“There’s absolutely no Serena without Venus,” Serena shares.

In the words of Richard Williams himself, the world not only respects Venus and Serena Williams but will forever be in awe of them.

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DIVE DEEPER: “A Human Success Story”: Will Smith Dedicates Epic Tribute to Venus and Serena Williams on ‘King Richard’ Sets

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Samarveer Singh

226 articles

Samarveer Singh is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. Holding a degree in English Literature and a diploma in Fitness Sciences and Training, Samarveer is obsessed with tennis and basketball. A collegiate athlete himself, he admires all sportspersons who put in the work in order to achieve excellence.

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