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EXCLUSIVE: Rick Macci Reveals What Made Serena Williams’ Dad Richard Williams Stand Out From Other Tennis Parents

Dhruv Rupani

EXCLUSIVE: Rick Macci Reveals What Made Serena Williams' Dad Richard Williams Stand Out From Other Tennis Parents

The United States celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday with much fanfare. Many names from the tennis world also put up special posts for their fathers on social media, showcasing the role they have played in their lives. Serena Williams and Venus Williams will always remain indebted to Richard Williams for instilling in them belief as well as backing them with resources to make it big in tennis. And who is better than Rick Macci, their childhood coach, to talk about Richard?

In an exclusive interview with The SportsRush, Macci spoke about the excessive involvement of fathers in developing tennis players, keeping a coach’s perspective in mind. The Florida-based legendary coach started his response by giving examples of his other star pupils like Jennifer Capriati, Maria Sharapova, Mary Pierce, and Sofia Kenin before stating that they all have the passionate father factor in common.

Rick Macci also cited the examples of Steffi Graf and among the men, Ben Shelton, who have had their fathers’ support throughout. Macci was quoted as saying –

“Nobody can answer this better than Rick Macci. Let’s back the truck up to Jennifer Capriati, Stefano was here. Jim Pierce, Mary’s dad was there. (Maria) Sharapova, Yuri was there. Steffi Graf, her dad was involved. 

It can be an advantage, as we have seen with Sofia Kenin. Her dad was involved, then it kind of blew up a little bit, he was out but now he is back in. It’s all individual with each player and situation.

“When it comes to Ben Shelton, his father Bryan who I know. He got to the quarterfinals of the US Open once and has been the former coach for University of Florida. So he is a big influence.”

However, Macci also warned that in trying to help their kids achieve their goals, parents could push them extremely hard after getting blinded by the temptations of quick results, success, and money, which could end up destroying their kids’ careers eventually. And that is something Richard Williams understood perfectly, which was also echoed by Serena and Venus in a Harper’s Bazaar interview back in 2022.

According to Rick Macci, this is what made Richard stand out from every other tennis parent he knows.

“It can cut both ways. Many fathers don’t realise that their kids are kids first and tennis players second and that’s how they can mess up their chances.

“Their hearts are in the right place out of love but they get blinded by stardom, money whatever, so they got to be careful. That’s why I love Richard Williams, he was more of a psychologist, a parent like none other, he treated them like kids because he knew they were only going to be kids once,” Macci told The SportsRush.

This part of Richard Williams was highlighted extremely well in the 2021 film King Richard. Despite not being that well off, Richard never wanted Serena Williams and Venus Williams to climb up too high too soon that they forget that they are children who have a long way to go in life.

Despite having faced so much criticism, sometimes even from Rick Macci himself, Richard Williams stuck to his guns, and his master plan worked. It played a huge role in ensuring that Serena and Venus did not get stuck in the trappings of stardom, instead making them understand how to go about their journeys with more wisdom.

During the same interview, Macci even opened up more about his relations with Richard and had some interesting things to say.

Rick Macci claims nobody loves Richard Williams more than him

In the film, it was shown that Macci and Richard did not agree with most things they said to each other. Both have strong personalities and have their own visions to help Serena and Venus grow. This made Macci admit that it was difficult to handle Richard more than Serena and Venus.

“Richard was my best friend. I tell people I should be in the Hall of Fame just because I dealt with that guy for 4 years. It was brutal at times. But I was in it for the girls,” Macci continued.

Eventually, Rick Macci used all his interpersonal skills and maturity to not interfere with Richard Williams’ decisions. At the same time, Richard too knew that he had to let Serena Williams and Venus Williams grow organically. So this partnership worked wonders and it made Macci have immense respect for their father.

“No one loves Richard Williams more than Rick Macci. We almost talk everyday even today. He is 82, a great guy. 

“Parents have to be careful and understand that success is not a straight shot. They should know when to back off but most of them don’t because they wish to control. Those who made it big, need to be given a lot of credit,” the award-winning coach concluded.

This is golden advice for all parents who wish that their children become successful, professional tennis players. Besides, a father plays perhaps the biggest role, which is of a selfless leader to guide them in the right direction. Serena Williams and Venus Williams got lucky indeed with a super coach and father apart from their own determination and effort, the ultimate recipe for success.

Post Edited By:Shraman Mitra

About the author

Dhruv Rupani

Dhruv Rupani


Dhruv Rupani is a Tennis Editor at The SportsRush. He is a tennis tragic in every sense and would go to any length to defend it against anyone if compared negatively to other sports. A huge Rafael Nadal supporter, Dhruv believes tennis is very much like life in most aspects. He started following the sport at the age of 10. Translating his love for sports into a living, he has over 8 years of experience in the digital media space. He aims to entertain and educate people about sports by presenting the best updates to them. When not covering tennis, Dhruv loves to spend time watching comedy shows and movies, reading inspiring books and doesn't mind trying his hand at cooking sometimes!

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