Richard Williams is an American tennis coach that has a net worth of $10 million. He is the father of tennis stars, Serena and Venus Williams. Richard Dove Williams Jr. was born on February 14, 1942, in Shreveport, Louisiana. After he graduated from high school, Williams settled in California.
After moving to California, he met Betty Johnson and they got married in 1965. Richard and Betty had five children before divorcing in 1973. The children were Ronner, Reluss, Sabrina, Richard III, and Reneeka.
Betty had a daughter from a past marriage named Katrina. The older sibling helped raise the kids after Richard and Betty divorced. Richard then met Oracene Price in 1979 going by the name ‘Brandy.’ Brandy came with two daughters from a previous marriage to a man who died.
Richard Married Brandy in 1980. Brandy was a nurse while Richard was a security guard. They went on to have two daughters, Venus who was born on June 17, 1980, and Serena born on September 26, 1981. The couple raised their family in Compton, California but eventually divorced in 2002.
Richard then started dating a woman by the name of Lakeisha Juanita Graham, who was a local grocery store owner. Lakeisha was just a year older than Venus and the massive age gap raised some eyebrows. Lakeisha and Richard married in 2010, had a son in 2012, and then divorced in 2017.
Richard Williams Tennis Involvement
At some point after shifting to Long Beach California, Richard was channel surfing and he landed on the 1978 French Open. Polish player Virginia Ruzici won the women’s singles and Richard was at first not interested in tennis. The prize money of $40,000 that Ruzici took home was what caught his attention. After adjusting inflation, that amount translates to $170,000 in today’s dollars.
There and then, Richard decided that Serena and Venus would become tennis stars. He wrote an 85-page game plan to ensure that his daughters would become the best tennis players in the world. He started taking his daughters to public tennis courts to play when they were children in the 1980s. At times, they would practice from 6 am until dark.
The family moved from California to Brandy’s hometown of Saginaw, Michigan after Venus was born. They moved back to California in 1981and settled in the rough neighborhood of Compton. The family moved to Palm Beach, Florida in 1991 to enable the girls to train extensively away from the violence of Compton.
In Florida, one local coach named Rick Macci recognized the girl’s potential and started training them more professionally. Venus turned pro in 1994 at the age of 14 and Serena went pro the following year. In 1998, the sisters faced off in their first major professional match at the Australian Open. Serena was 16 and Venus was 17. Venus won on that occasion in straight sets.
In 1999 Serena won the US Open at the age of 18 while Venus won Wimbledon at the age of 20 in 2000. When Venus won Wimbledon, Richard Williams shouted “Straight outta Compton!” from the stands. He was inspired by a song by the rap group N.W.A. that was also from Compton.
Venus and Serena Williams went ahead to dominate the professional women’s tennis circuit for several years, and they continue winning major tournaments often. In the late 90s and early 2000s, Richard was visible as their coach but they later moved on to other coaches. Today, he cheers them on from the stands.
Venus and Serena have cumulatively won over 120 singles titles including 30 Grand Slam singles titles. They have also won 22 doubles titles together as teammates, with 14 of them being Grand Slams.
The sisters have earned an impressive $175 million in tournament prize money and hundreds of millions more off the court from endorsements.
Book And Film
In 2014 Richard co-authored a book with the title “Black and White: The Way I See It.” When not following his daughters’ tennis careers, he focuses on photography.
In November 2021 a biographical film about Richard going by the title “King Richard” was released by Warner Bros. Pictures. In that film, he is portrayed by Will Smith.