Are legends born or made? – a question often asked, but rarely ever answered. Here’s a movie that proposes legends are both born and made. King Richard (2021) is the biopic of Richard Williams, the father, and coach of the world-renowned tennis players Serena and Venus Williams.
It stars Will Smith in the title role, with Demi Singleton and Saniyya Sidney playing the young sisters. The movie also features other talented cast members like Aunjanue Ellis, Tony Goldwyn, Jon Bernthal, and Dylan McDermott.
An inspirational true story, following an undeterred father who raises two of the most gifted athletes of the century. He faces a wall of resistance as he tries to get them noticed in the elite community that surrounds the sport, but is driven by a clear vision of the future. He uses unconventional methods to build the champions we know today. Richard takes his two daughters from the streets of Compton to the world stage where they become global icons, changing the game of tennis forever.
This biopic will chronicle the early lives of multi-Grand Slam champions, and sisters Venus and Serena Williams. However, the story is not so much about these sisters as it is about the man behind them – their father and first coach, Richard Williams
Richard Williams was born in the 1940s in Louisiana and grew up in a violent and racist environment. He said in an interview that he started picking cotton at a very young age and had to suffer several attacks due to his race. Richard moved to Chicago and the California. It was in the latter that he met his future wife, Oracene Price. They had two daughters – the tennis champions we know today.
It might come as a surprise to you but this man, who trained both his daughters to become world champions, now 79 years old, never played tennis himself. In fact, it was not even his love for tennis that made him train his daughters to become champions.
The truth is a lot more basic, and a lot less noble. It was money. He explained in an interview that he had once read that a pro tennis female player, Virginia Ruzici, had won $ 40000 during a tournament.
He wanted his children to be successful. Raising a family in the socio-economically deprived area of Compton, Los Angeles, was not an easy task. In fact, he had already written a plan (78 pages long!) for achieving this even before his elder daughter, Venus was born.
Richard underwent a few training sessions himself and, and then applied that while training his daughters. He started teaching his daughters in the local tennis court when they were only 4 years old. He would stay up watching movies about tennis and then teach his daughters. Some of his methods may even be considered “unorthodox”, but they helped the girls to rattle the privileged and white-dominated world of tennis.
When Venus was 10, the family moved to Florida so she could train under Rik Macci at his world-class tennis academy for a few years. Richard, in multiple interviews, has mentioned that he always believed that his daughters would be champions, even before they were born. He always asked them to carry their heads high with pride.
Venus Williams won her first Grand slam at Wimbledon in 2000, while Serena won hers at the French Open in 1999.
In probably the most standout moment of the trailer, Richard tells his daughters, “The most dangerous creature on this whole Earth is a woman who knows how to think…You gonna show them how dangerous you are?” That should show you the power this film is about to radiate.