Venus and Serena Williams, born 15 months apart, have become one of the most ridiculous sports pipe dreams ever formulated, albeit successful.
His father, Richard, had watched the women’s singles final at the 1978 French Open and heard that the winner, Virginia Rujich, won $40,000. As Richard pointed out, that’s more than he made in a year.
Richard immediately told his wife, Olasen, that he needed two daughters. I wanted to raise him in a different way.
It was plain ridiculous.
How do you know if they’re athletic enough, mentally tough or competitive enough to reach elite of elite? How do you know if they like tennis? Besides, Richard wasn’t even a coach (he read instructional books and watched videos), and his family was clearly wealthy working-class in sports.
Just because it worked doesn’t mean it wasn’t crazy.
So after going through that crucible, it makes sense that Venus and Serena would prove to be world class in something else as well.
There is no doubt about the tennis greatness of Venus, 42, and Serena, 40. Richard’s grand plan somehow worked out. Venus has won seven major championships. Serena 23.
The bond between the two brothers is also beyond doubt.
“Best friend,” said Venus.
From a competitive tennis standpoint, their partnership is over.
Serena says she’s retiring, and Venus might not be too far behind.
They haven’t played a major together since 2018 and did this for nostalgia. Can not.
Nevertheless, watching Williams Sisters vs. The World felt good and was a throwback moment. Don’t just play, laugh, laugh and encourage. Two of his Compton kids pumped their fists and he drew 23,000 people to his court in New York center. As a doubles team, they won his 14 majors and his 3 Olympic gold medals. On this night they were no match for the unseeded team in his 20s. It hardly mattered.
As much as the focus has been on Serena’s play in singles – she entered the third round on Friday but Venus lost early – perhaps the most appropriate curtain call is her sister was on the side of
Let’s get started together. We will finish it together.
Along the way, they changed sports, inspired lives, and became rich and famous just as Richard had planned. They did it in lockstep. If there were rivalries, they were hidden. Even if there was jealousy, it remained a secret. Mutual assistance was inspiring.
There were many reasons why not.
The two certainly lived up to Richard’s plan, growing up in strict, isolated households and undergoing constant training for unjustified expectations, but they remained close into adulthood.
Venus was the most high-profile star inside and outside the family. Selena was her “little sister,” but she was hardly bristling with it.
That script was turned upside down when Serena won her first major championship at the 1999 US Open at the age of 17. That was just two years after Venus lost in the final. Biggest cheer of the day.
Venus broke through in 2000 and won her first major, becoming the number one in the world.
The Venus won their first three bouts as pros against each other before Serena got the upper hand. Both were facts that could cause tension. The two have faced off in nine major championship finals, seven of which were won by Serena.
When either side often struggled in head-to-head matches, fans and media often wondered if they were pitching matches at Richard’s direction. It was the criticism that greatly bothered them and could only add to the tension.
And yet… it wasn’t.
“My first job is a big sister,” Venus said after defeating Serena in the 2008 Wimbledon final. “And I take it very seriously.”
Think of the 2002 French Open. When Serena defeated Venus in the final, Venus quickly grabbed a camera and joined a pool of photojournalists to take pictures of her older sister holding up her championship cup.
The bond is not only strong, but unique.
As a child, Serena was obsessed with Venus and imitated everything about herself. She has the same favorite color. Same favorite animal. Whenever her family dined out, she would order whatever Venus ordered, ultimately her parents tried to let Selena think for herself and choose first.
“But then [Venus would] Once you place an order, just change the order,” said Selena.
But it boomeranged back in the form of protection. Venus was always watching over Serena. No one messed with her sister. One day at her school, Serena forgot her lunch money. Venus diverged above her.
“You go eat,” said Venus.
Together they navigated the often unforgiving world of professional tennis. In difficult times they used each other as impenetrable shields. changed and became a partner in crime.
At one point they were eager to talk and learn from other great players, but were too scared to approach them. So they created their own newsletter, “Tennis Monthly Recap,” which they used to record sit-down “interviews” with older players on how to stay competitive, like Pete his Sampras. emphasized.
We were together no matter what. frustration. injury. loss. victory. Controversy. relationship. Fear for their respective health. murder of her sister. the split of their parents.
After all, Venus had Serena’s back, and Serena had Venus’ back.
Good times, bad times, and good times.
And here they were on the court together one last time. They hadn’t played together in years, but Serena called Venus to tell her that she would be in this US Open double draw.
“She’s the boss,” Venus said with a laugh. “So I do whatever she says.”
If she were to retire, she needed her best friend, sister, and world conqueror by her side. Richard Williams certainly raised some tennis icons, and he also raised some world-class siblings.