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Former Coach Rick Macci Details Why Richard Williams Trained Venus and Serena Williams on Broken Glass

Published 12/02/2021, 7:00 AM EST

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Venus Williams and her sister Serena have not played in almost six months. Currently, both former World No. 1 stars are promoting the newly-released movie ‘King Richard’, which is based on their lives.

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The Oscar-contending biographical movie tells the story of the Williams sisters and their father, Richard Williams. Richard coached and trained his young daughters to become tennis stars right from their childhood, guiding them along the way.

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Venus Williams and Serena trained on broken shards of glass

Richard Williams, over the course of the girls’ childhood, trained them intensely every day. He made Venus and Serena wake up early at 6 AM, training them before school. Moreover, the girls also trained after school, well into the dark.

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Rick Macci, the legendary coach who trained both Venus Williams and Serena, revealed some of Richard’s training techniques. “He (Richard) would use bad balls so the girls would have to run faster and bend lower,” Macci said.


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Most shockingly, Richard also threw beer bottles across the court, creating a boundary of broken glass. According to Macci, Richard did this to ensure that the girls wouldn’t go too far behind the baseline during their matches.

“The glass was behind the baseline, back by the fence, so they wouldn’t back up and take the ball early,” Macci revealed. Additionally, Macci also talks about the determination of the girls, who he knew would even run over that broken glass just to hit the ball.

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Richard Williams never let tennis become the sisters’ top priority

As depicted in the movie and explained in Richard’s own personal memoir, the father never let tennis become the only thing that Venus and Serena did. He, along with his wife Oracene, ensured that the girls were at the top of their respective classes. Moreover, Venus herself knew four different languages!


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Some neighbors who were concerned with how much Richard kept the girls busy with training, had even called child protective services on the family. However, it amounted to nothing, as the girls strongly defended their father and his methods.

It is clear that Venus Williams and Serena Williams didn’t become two of the greatest players in the world without their hard work.


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Written by:

Samarveer Singh


One take at a time

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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