“The Next Female Michael Jordan”: Venus Williams’ Legendary First Coach Rick Macci Explains Why He Chose The Williams Sisters

Published 12/07/2021, 12:30 PM EST

Serena Williams and Venus Williams, two of the greatest athletes of all time, were children once. It took special insight and an eye for talent to recognize at an early age that the sisters would become the legends that they did. Their journey would’ve been impossible without their father Richard Williams and their coach, Rick Macci, who believed in the duo from the start.

Why Rick Macci called Venus Williams the next Michael Jordan

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In an interview with EssentiallySports, Rick Macci, former coach to both Serena and Venus Williams, talked about the girls.

Macci explained how when he first came to check out the girls’ game, he was initially underwhelmed. “I didn’t think they were any better or any worse than 50, 60, 70 (rank) in the nation,” he admits.

However, the entire landscape changed when they started playing competitively. In Macci’s own words, “Right then and there, it blew my socks off.”

Macci saw in Venus and Serena Williams a burning desire to get to the ball. It was something he had never seen before, nor has he, again. He then realized that Venus Williams would grow up, grow stronger and faster, too. “I’m thinking, 6ft, 160, big strong fast and they go for the jugular? So I knew right then and there,” the coach reveals.

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It was at this moment that Rick Macci saw in Venus an unparalleled combination of talent and skill. “I went up to Richard and said- hey you got the next female Michael Jordan on your hands.”

Richard’s belief in both Serena and Venus was equal, as he responded to Macci with, “No, I got the next two.”

Venus looks strong ahead of a potential comeback

After her withdrawal from the US Open, Venus Williams has not played any competitive tennis. That looks set to change, as the 7-time Grand Slam winner updated fans on her Instagram about her recovery.

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When asked about her presence at the Australian Open 2022, she commented, “I look pretty strong, right? I’m working on it.”

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Fans and the rest of the tennis fraternity are certainly waiting for the Williams sisters to return at the Happy Slam.

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Samarveer Singh

470 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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