Richard Williams, a more forceful slap than Will Smith’s

“We don’t know all the details of what happened, but we don’t condone anyone hitting unless it’s in self-defense.” It is the official comment Richard Williamsexpressed through his son Chavoita LeSane on NBC News, regarding the slap that Will Smith hit Chris Rock during the Oscar ceremony after a joke by the comedian and presenter about the alopecia of his wife, the actress Jada Pinkett Smith.

Later, the aggressor received the Oscar for best leading actor playing in ‘King Richard’ (The Williams Method) the role of father of the sisters Venus and Serena Williamsthe enlightened designer of legendary career paths starting from scratch, without the slightest knowledge of the world of tennis.

Venus Williams and Serena Williams on the red carpet at the Oscars

Jae C. Hong / AP

Will Smith’s slap made history, although it hit harder in this sport Richard Williams. A physical act of violence in public is not known, but actions and, especially, words that shook many consciences and generated quite a few problems in a professional circuit that received two African-American figures with open arms, with a pull to the Tiger Woodsalthough he looked askance at his controversial father and mentor.

The film, approved and supervised by the Williams family, and the biography that Richard authorized and directed (‘Black and White: As I see it’) paint the part of the story that they wanted to transmit from the outside. What really happened remains in the memory of its protagonists. Because one of the characteristics of Richard and his work is secrecy. In fact, he kept the little one away from him as much as he could from the rest of the promises of American tennis, until they became professionals as teenagers. In a time conditioned by the law (Jennifer) Capriati, when the trend of letting 14-year-old girls enter the Tour without calendar limits was ended. Many a child prodigy’s road to hell led to a more staggered entry into the circuit.

Venus and Serena grew up on the public slopes of the Californian ‘ghetto’ of Compton. A place so dangerous that one of the three stepsisters of the tennis players, daughters of their mother’s first relationship Oracenewas killed by a stray bullet in a shootout between rival gangs in 2013. The Yetunde tragedy was one of the most painful moments the family has ever faced.

The champions have just formed in a calmer environment on the east coast, in land of Florida. They returned in 2016 to their neighborhood of origin to name the new public courts.

The legend fattened by Richard Williams says that he decided to have two champion daughters, even before pregnancy, when he saw on television how the Romanian tennis player Virginia Ruzici received a millionaire check. She had no idea about tennis, she trained with video courses from a guru on the subject, Vic Braden. This is how Richard tells it, who also put Oracene to play, in order to be lined up when the girls arrived.

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The myth that he fed points out that he wrote his plan in a 78-page booklet. That he displayed it by turning his daughters into stars. “They will be number one and number two. Serena will be even better than Venus,” she announced to anyone who wanted to listen. It is true that they are two legendary tennis players, who are barely visible on the courts but who are officially still active.

The exact intervention of other coaches is not clear, such as the well-known collaboration of the technical expert Rick Macci. With Richard, you never know where the bar for the truth of his intrahistory is. The rivals of his daughters, as well as the media and organizations, suspected that during the first years he decided the results of the matches between them.

They denied it and accused those who dared to comment on this possibility of racism. From 2002 to 2014 they boycotted the tournament of Indian Wells, the ‘big fifth’, marking his audience as consummate racists. The crowd greeted with boos the news that Venus was absent in the semifinal against Serena, just minutes before their match. He undisguisedly repeated this disapproval when Serena appeared in the final against the Belgian Kim Clijsters. Venus and Richard said they had heard derogatory adjectives related to their African-American origin during their stay in the stands to follow the duel.

Richard Williams celebrates a Serena Williams title at Wimbledon, under the watchful eye of Venus Williams

Richard Williams celebrates a Serena Williams title at Wimbledon, under the watchful eye of Venus Williams


Either with me or against me. like the romanian Irina Spirlea, who ended up crashing into the chest of Venus Williams, intentionally, in a hot clash in the semi-finals of the US Open 1997. Richard called her a “big, tall, white turkey”, accusing her of racism.

That scuffle staged a reality then: most of the tennis players were against the hermetic Williams block, that they go on their own without establishing any connection with the rest of the locker room.

And they all looked at the arrogant, bully Richard, who announced that he had amassed so much money that he would buy Rockefeller Center.

Venus and Serena softened this dichotomy with the passage of time, as Richard’s figure also faded, especially after divorcing Oracene, who became strong in his daughters’ tennis player box, gradually disappearing the man who walked through the Grand Slams dressed as a tennis player, always with a handbag under his armpit and a cigarette in his mouth, as thin as it is long. From a short distance he was cordial, he spoke with any journalist who wanted to ask a question, regardless of the importance of the medium or its origin.

Of course, he told the story that best suited him. In 2002 she began a new sentimental adventure with Lakeisha Graham, only one year older than Venus. She had a son. At 80 years old, he lived away from the public eye, until the film starring Will Smith arrived. The one with the slap A kind of testimony built to measure. One more slap from Richard Williams to whoever is not from his circle. His story is handled by him.



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