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‘He Would Always Take Off His Shirt’ – Former Venus and Serena Williams’ Coach Refreshes His Memory to Dig Up Bossy ‘King’ Richard Move

Published 04/20/2023, 4:18 AM EDT

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Rick Macci’s coaching career has seen him coach the likes of Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, and Jennifer Capriati. However, Macci is renowned in the tennis realm for being one of the first coaches of the Williams sisters when they were only learning the game. The relationship that Macci shared with Venus and Serena Williams became all the more special because their father, Richard Williams, was Macci’s best friend.

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Macci often talks about his best friend across podcasts and interviews. This time, the American coaching legend took to Twitter and shared a funny story about Richard Williams dating back to when the Williams sisters were training at his academy.

King Richard’s funny habit during his on-court skirmishes with Venus and Serena Williams


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After he was inspired by Romanian tennis player Virginia Ruzici, Richard Williams decided he would make professional tennis players out of his daughters. When Venus and Serena were 13 and 9 years old, respectively, Richard enrolled his daughters in Macci’s tennis academy. There, Macci and his best friend often paired up to train the sisters.

In Macci’s tweet, he recalled how Richard Williams had the habit of taking off his shirt during tennis practice with his daughters. The tweet read, “Whenever Richard Williams would hit with Venus and Serena he would always take off his shirt.”


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Macci went on to write, “He always said RICK I would give the shirts off my back to help these girls.” He also lauded his best friend’s sense of humor. “FUNNIEST GUY EVER! LOVE THIS GUY!”

Despite his sense of humor, Richard used some unorthodox methods to turn the sisters into the world-beaters that they are today.

Williams sisters’ unconventional training with ‘King’ Richard

Rick Macci was a trained tennis professional who went into coaching after the end of his playing career. However, the same wasn’t the case for his best friend Richard Williams, who lacked formal training. However, this didn’t stop him from coaching his daughters. In 1995, Williams took a brave step as he decided to train his daughters on his own and stopped sending them to Macci’s academy.


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via Imago

What followed was remarkable, as Williams relied on his unconventional coaching methods to get the best out of his daughters. For instance, he improved his daughters’ serves by teaching them how to throw a football the right way. This went a long way toward improving Venus and Serena’s respective serve techniques.

All You Need to Know About How Venus and Serena Williams’ Parents Taught Them Tennis


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Eventually, both Venus and Serena became true tennis powerhouses. Venus’ 7 singles majors pale in comparison to Serena’s 23 singles titles. However, there’s no doubt that they were the dominant duo in women’s tennis in the 2000s and 2010s. What do you make of the story shared by Macci? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Written by:

Sudipto Pati


One take at a time

Sudipto is a Tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He completed his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2012. His passion for writing became a full-time profession in 2019 after working as a musician and travelling educator.
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Edited by:

Amal Joyce