Richard Williams, the father of famous tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams will be inducted into the American Tennis Association’s (ATA) new Tennis Hall of Fame! He will be honored for his efforts in coaching the Williams sisters, who hold 30 major singles titles between them.
Mr. Williams will be the very first inductee of the ATA’s hall of fame in celebration of the association’s 100th anniversary. ATA’s Centennial Celebration Gala will be held on August 2nd, 2017, where Mr. Williams will be formally recognized.
“The ATA has had a rich and colorful history and we will be honoring our past while focusing on the strategic plans for the next 100 years for Black Tennis in America,” ATA President Willie Emerson said. “ This is an exciting year and we have many exciting events planned.”
Raising and training tennis players definitely had its challenges, whether it was fighting off gang members in Compton and fighting off the prejudices of the white-dominated tennis world. Check out the following video where he discussed his early challenges with the Toronto Star.
His “tough-love discipline and unapologetic blackness” was certainly controversial in the league, and along with the Williams sisters being among the oldest on the court, the family certainly stood out for more reasons than their powerhouse skills and talents. Regardless of the controversy, it looks like Mr. Williams was doing something right. Look at them now!
“Williams will be recognized for his success as a coach to his Compton-born daughters, who have received numerous accolades for their successes in the Summer Olympics and Grand Slam tournaments,” said the ATA. “For about 20 years, the sisters have steadily been credited as top-of-the-line tennis players, with Serena leading as number one. When paired together in double tournaments, the two are practically undefeatable and have won 22 out of 23 titles.”
Congrats to Mr. Williams! Given the tennis icons he has helped raise and train, this honor is certainly much deserved!