6 Things To Know About Venus And Serena Williams' Sisterhood
May 12, 2022 at 12:38 pm
The award-winning film, for which Will Smith won an Oscar, King Richard, tells the story of Richard Williams and Venus and Serena Williams. The film explores the legendary sisters’ early beginnings and spotlights their father, Richard, and his unwavering commitment to his daughters’ futures. The Williams sisters are two of the most successful tennis players in the history of the sport. But the Williams sisters didn’t earn success without their fair share of obstacles.
From humble beginnings—practicing on rundown and dilapidated courts—to facing ongoing criticism of their bodies and blatant acts of racism, the sisters have remained victorious both in their personal and professional lives. The struggles that Venus Williams and Serena Williams have faced over the years have been challenging, but the Williams sisters have unwavering courage that has kept them strong since they were kids. Their solid family ties and unshakable sisterhood always seem to be at the center of their strength and perseverance. Throughout their lifetime Venus and Serena Williams have been by each other’s side, cheering each other on.
“Venus and I worked so hard. Still to this day we work side by side at practice…The motivation she gives me is second to nothing,” Serena said, per Sportskeeda.
Here are 6 things you may not know about Venus and Serena Williams.
Venus And Serena Had A Very Disciplined Childhood
Becoming tennis legends doesn’t happen overnight, and the Williams sisters had a disciplined childhood that included hard work and sacrifice. The sisters started their first tennis lessons when they were only preschoolers and together they made history with their first Grand Slam title when Venus was 18 years old and Serena was 17 years old.
According to Biography.com, the sisters spent a large portion of their youth on the courts, practicing from 6 a.m. to dark with their father, Richard Williams. Undoubtedly, the discipline they received as children is ultimately what prepared them to be the champions they are today.
“My plan was simple: to bring two children out of the ghetto to the forefront of a white-dominated game. Could it be done? I hoped so. In fact, I was beyond hope. I was certain,” Richard Williams wrote in his 2014 memoir, Black and White. “Eliminating the last doubts from my mind, I wrote a final seventy-five-page tennis-training plan for myself, Oracene, and my daughters-to-be, detailing every step of the road we would travel, more than two and a half years before they were both born.”
They Lost Their Half-Sister To Gang Violence
Venus and Serena Williams have 8 siblings, including three half-sisters on their mother’s side, Yetunde, Lyndrea, and Isha Price. In 2003, Yetunde Price, aged 31, died when a reported gang member opened fire on the car Price and her boyfriend were sitting in. At the time of her death, Price was a mother-of-three, nurse, and owner of a hair salon. She also, occasionally, worked as a personal assistant for Serena and Venus.
Venus and Serena commemorated their sister’s memory by putting up the Yetunde Price Resource Center in Compton in 2018, which provides resources to victims of “senseless violence” and offers programs that promote “individual and community-wide healing and resiliency.”
In a Red Table Talk interview, Serena Williams divulged how she felt when she saw her sister Price portrayed in the film King Richard.
“I think I cried the whole time. Whenever she came on film, I just … personally, I just started, like [crying] … I mean, even still,” Serena said during the interview.
The Sisters Teamed Up To Buy Part Of The Miami Dolphins
In 2009, Venus and Serena became partial owners of the Miami Dolphins. The two sisters are reportedly life-long Miami Dolphin fans and becoming partial owners of the team was one of their long-standing dreams. Their investment in the Miami Dolphins made Venus and Serena the first female African Americans to have ownership claim in an NFL franchise.
“To have this opportunity is really where our heart is,” Venus told the NFL in 2009. “We’re South Florida girls. When we get off the road, this is where we come home to. When we come home to Dolphins games, it’s going to be exciting.”
Serena felt “really honored” that she and her sister held a stake in the NFL. “Venus and I in tennis have tried to do so much for the sport. We’re really excited to even have this opportunity,” said Serena.
Both Sisters Have Felt The Pressure To Outperform The Other
“It was very difficult being in the shadow of Venus,” said Serena in the 2012 documentary, Venus and Serena. “Venus was always in the newspapers and the press. I was never supposed to be good, the one who was supposed to be a good player.”
But Serena wasn’t the only one who felt the pressure to live up to her sister. Venus felt the same way when her younger sister beat Martina Hingis in the 1999 US Open final, becoming the first Williams to win a grand slam title.
“Not to win the first major was tough for me,” admits Venus in the documentary. “I thought as older sister I should step up. I didn’t know how to fight, it didn’t come naturally to me. It came naturally to Serena.”
Venus And Serena Are Each Other's Greatest Rivals On The Tennis Court
As tight-knit as Venus and Serena Williams are off the court, on the court the two have often gone head-to-head, competing against each other in tournaments. Over a span of 24 years, the tennis duo has played each other 31 times in their careers.
Their decades-long tennis rivalry first began at the second round of the 1998 Australian Open—Venus won that round. Their most recent professional match against one another was in 2020 at the Top Speed Open, in which Serena took home the win. It’s no doubt that the sisters are each other’s greatest rivals but they are also each other’s greatest support systems.
“I want [Venus] to win every time she’s playing, except when she’s playing me. And when she’s playing me, I want her to win, but I want to win – and I feel awful if I win. It’s this incredible fight inside of myself,” said Serena in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “‘I always tell myself, in 10 years, none of this is going to matter, we’ll still be sisters and she’s not going to be upset with me for beating her in this particular tournament.”
The Sisters Are An Unstoppable Force When They Play Together
In addition to their individual accolades, the Williams sisters have been playing doubles together since 1997. The duo has won 14 Grand Slams in doubles, putting them third all-time in the women’s doubles division. Serena and Venus Williams had never lost a doubles match until 2016 at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. But the sisters have still amassed three gold medals together, even with their 2016 loss.
Over the years the two sisters have cherished playing together and have shown the world why they are the ultimate “dream team.” After winning the Olympic gold medal in doubles at the 2000 Sydney games, Venus had this to say about the win: “For me, this is almost bigger than singles,” Venus told reporters. “It’s right up there because I had this victory with Serena, my sister, my family member, my best friend.”