"In every dispute, Richard would back off" - Venus & Serena Williams' ex-coach Rick Macci reveals how their mother Oracene influenced their career

Oracene Price was instrumental in the Williams sisters
Oracene Price was instrumental in the Williams sisters' success, believes Rick Macci

Serena Williams' childhood coach, Rick Macci, recently spoke about her mother Oracene Price's involvement in the Williams sisters' respective careers.

Rick Macci, a famous American coach, has enjoyed long coaching stints with former World No. 1's such as Andy Roddick and Jennifer Capriati. He also collaborated with the Williams sisters for a few years in the early 1990s, during which he was also in direct contact with their parents, Richard Williams and Oracene Price.

In that context, Macci heaped rich praise on Serena Williams' mother in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday (March 4). The 69-year-old said Oracene Price always had "the girls' back", and that she wasn't afraid of giving her input, even if it meant that she'd have to defy her then-husband.

"Orecene Williams always in the Background. Orecene Williams always the Backbone," Macci wrote on his X handle. "Orecene Williams always had the girls' Back. In every Backroom dispute with the KING, he would Backpeddle Back off and everything would be Back on track. @serenawilliams @Venuseswilliams."

For the unversed, Oracene Price was an important figure in the Williams sisters' formative years. It is widely believed that her daughters' mental strength was instilled in them by her.

Richard Williams was Oracene's second husband, as she was previously married to Yusef Rasheed, who passed away in 1979 due to a heart stroke. She ultimately divorced Richard in 2002 citing irreconcilable differences.


"We, as black people, live with this all the time" - Serena Williams' mother Oracene on infamous 2001 Indian Wells racism row

Serena Williams looks on during the 2001 Indian Wells final
Serena Williams looks on during the 2001 Indian Wells final

While Serena Williams retired from professional tennis at the 2022 US Open, Venus Williams is still playing in 2024 and has been granted a wildcard entry into this week's BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The 43-year-old had previously boycotted the WTA 1000 tournament for 14 years after Serena allegedly received racist abuse from fans during the final.

The controversy began when Venus Williams pulled out of a blockbuster semifinal encounter against her younger sister at the last moment, citing tendonitis. This withdrawal seemingly angered the local public in Indian Wells, who had paid a lot to see the most entertaining match-up on the WTA Tour.

Serena Williams subsequently received boos from the same crowd during her championship match against Kim Clijsters, which she won 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. However, the two-time Indian Wells titlist was admittedly traumatized and didn't play at the event from 2002 to 2014.

Oracene, meanwhile, attributed the row to racial bias at the time.

'We, as black people, live with this all the time," Oracene said to New York Times in 2001. "It's all about control.''

The Williams sisters, meanwhile, enjoyed great campaigns at Indian Wells in their post-prime years. While Serena finished runner-up to former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in 2016, Venus Williams reached the semifinals in 2018.

Venus Williams and Father Richard recall one match that 7-time Grand Slam champion "should have won"