Venus and Serena Williams won gold in doubles at the London Olympics
Venus and Serena Williams recently spoke to BBC Radio about King Richard, a film that sheds light on how their father Richard Williams helped them develop into two of the most successful figures in tennis. The film stars actor Will Smith in the titular role and releases on 19 November in US theaters.
During the interview, the sisters were asked to weigh in on the prevalence of racism and prejudice in tennis at present as compared to when they first started out.
Serena Williams pointed out that we live in an “imperfect” world and emphasized that efforts still have to be made towards attaining racial equality.
“Obviously we live in an imperfect world and there have been, maybe, some changes but there’s a tonne of steps that still need to be made,” Serena Williams opined. “Not only in tennis but as we’ve seen in every sport ever. So I think it’s important just to keep going and do the best that you can.”
Venus Williams said it’s important for people to continue breaking social barriers and expressed her hope that future generations will be able to simply play without any focus on their skin color.
“It’s also important for people to continue to break barriers,” Venus Williams chimed in. “The best part is if you’re good enough and great enough then you open the way for other people. I think the generations beyond us are able to just play tennis and hopefully don’t have to focus so much on their color and their skin.”Richard Williams and Serena Williams
The sisters were then asked how they wanted their story to be told in the film. Serena Williams replied that they wanted to make sure their story was presented “in the right way” so people could see the journey they undertook to become who they are today.
“We wanted it to be told in the right way,” Serena Williams said. “When we got approached about the opportunity to tell this story, we were really nervous at first, we wanted to make sure it’s done in the right way. Make sure that we tell a great story, and a true story about what happened to get us to this point.”
The Williams sisters were also asked if they felt younger players like Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu faced similar barriers to theirs when they were grinding their way to the higher echelons of the sport. Venus Williams replied that she’s unaware of other people’s lives, but said she felt excited for them as they are “great for tennis.”
“I don’t know if we know their lives, so it’s hard for us to speak about that. But obviously they’re achieving great things so we’re very excited for them and they’re great for tennis,” the seven-time Grand Slam champion said.
“There are so many things in our life and this film gives you a glimpse into one part, a really special part”- Serena Williams’ sister Venus on ‘King Richard’
Serena Williams and Venus Williams with mother Oracene
Venus Williams then proceeded to talk about the role Richard Williams played in her, as well as her sister, Serena Williams’ lives. Venus expressed her admiration for her father, before revealing that the film allows viewers to catch a glimpse of a very “special part” of their life story.
“Our dad is an amazing guy, I don’t think there’s anyone out there like him, or for that matter our mom,” said the 41-year-old. “But I think more than anything we’re just proud as a family of what we’ve been able to achieve together. There are so many things in our life and this film gives you a glimpse into one part, a really special part and I think that’s what makes it so special.”