‘How Did You Put Up With This Maniac?’ – Venus and Serena Williams’ Ex-Coach Ricci Macci Reveals an Obscure Side to ‘King’ Richard’s Persona

Published 10/26/2022, 3:14 PM EDT
KEY BISCAYNE, FL – APRIL 01: Richard Williams watches as his daughter Venus Williams plays against Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic during day ten of the Sony Ericsson Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on April 1, 2009 in Key Biscayne, Florida. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Richard Williams and his daughters Venus and Serena, Peter and his daughter Steffi Graf, Jimmy and his daughter Chrissie Evert, etc., are just a few examples of tennis dads who molded and trained their daughters to become superstars on the court. They were just as influential to the sport as their daughters were.

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Richard Williams, without a doubt, is the most important factor in Venus and Serena Williams’ rise to fame in professional tennis. However, not many know the real side of Richard. In September, the ex-coach of Venus and Serena Williams, Ricci Macci, shed light on an undisclosed facet of Richard’s character. 

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Ricci Macci on the unknown side of Richard Williams’ character

In an episode of David Meltzer’s podcast that aired in September, legendary tennis coach and Hall of Fame inductee Rick Macci discussed what it takes to become a great coach, the importance of building a rapport with your student, the importance of forgetting the past in order to move forward in life, and much more. 

During the conversation, he managed to highlight the hidden side of the Williams sisters’ father, Richard Williams, and said, “People said, “Rick, how did you put up with this maniac for four years”. People saw the movie about how stubborn he was and stuff, and I said, listen, every night after practice, Venus and Serena would say, “Rick, thank you very much”, and they gave me a hug.” 

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He further stated, “They brought their books to the court every day, and if it rained, they want to come office and study. This is Oracene and Richard Williams’ life lessons. So I saw how he was. You know, the tennis part, I could take a deep breath when he got near. I could go and clean it up a little bit, you know. But it was about the girl.

What kind of upbringing did Serena and Venus Williams have?

The Williams sisters were well aware of the challenges that African-American tennis players faced at the time. In an interview in 1997, Richard Williams revealed that he was quite proud that his kids had never defied him or his wife.

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WATCH THE STORY: Serena Williams’ husband on fatherhood as he dozes off in the middle of an NBA game

He described how his daughter listened intently to every word he spoke and added that he had forbidden the older sister to exercise with weights before she turned 21.

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Sampreet Shetty

184 articles

Sampreet Shetty is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in engineering, he started his professional career as a content writer. Sampreet started following tennis after witnessing Andy Murray's exploits on the ATP tour during his heyday.

Edited By: Tony Thomas

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