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Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Williams has had an undeniable impact on the game of tennis. From teaching himself how to play the sport, to introducing his daughters to the game, to transforming them into two of the greatest tennis players of all time, Williams inevitably changed the game forever.
Photo credit: Alese and Morton Pechter
To honor his incredible success as Venus and Serena’s coach, the American Tennis Association has selected him as the first person to be inducted into its new Hall of Fame. It will be located at the organization’s Tennis and Education Complex, which is currently being built in South Florida. The building will also include a museum, a series of offices, and a youth national training facility.
ATA Education Foundation President and former President of the ATA, Dr. Franklyn Scott, said of Williams’ induction:
“This year we recognize ATA’s value as a historic organization, and there’s no better way of doing that than to honor a man whose legacy is built upon the propitious parenting and coaching of his two daughters, both of whom have blossomed into top-tier doyens. These successful women have traveled beyond the stars thanks to their instilled determination and training while breaking plenty of barriers along the way. It is for the significance of Richard Williams in Venus and Serena’s athletic prowess and intellectual know-how that we would like to honor him as our first Hall of Famer.”
ATA, recognized as the nation’s oldest African American Sports Association, was founded in 1916 as a result of African Americans being denied membership into the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association. Since then, the organization has supported and provided services to aspiring tennis players of color.
Richard Williams is set to be honored at the ATA’s 2017 Honors Gala on August 2.