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"It was important to see two black women dominating a sport that is predominantly white, it made me believe I can too"- Coco Gauff on Venus and Serena Williams

Coco Gauff triumphed over Venus Williams at Wimbledon 2019
Coco Gauff triumphed over Venus Williams at Wimbledon 2019
Gauri Awasthi
ANALYST

American actor Will Smith recently hosted 'Red Table Talk', a talk-show on Facebook, where he spoke to Venus and Serena Williams ahead of the release of their father's biopic.

The show also featured video messages from several notable names from within and beyond the sporting community, including World No. 22 Coco Gauff. Gauff talked about how the Williams sisters set an example by being successful at a "predominantly white sport", which gave her the belief that she could make an impact too.

The American teenager, whose father is also her coach, also hailed Richard Williams' contribution to the success of Venus and Serena.

"As a little girl, even now, it was so important for me to see two successful black women dominating a sport that is predominantly white," Coco Gauff said. "It let me believe that I can do it too.
"Also, the impact Mr. Williams continues to leave on the world-- my dad is my coach as well. Seeing a black dad push the boundaries is something that my family definitely looks up to."
Coco Gauff partnered with Venus Williams to play doubles at the 2021 French Open
Coco Gauff partnered with Venus Williams to play doubles at the 2021 French Open

Coco Gauff admitted it was "crazy" to have Venus and Serena Williams as her competitors as she had grown up watching them. Gauff then went on to recall the times she played against Venus (Wimbledon 2019 and Australian Open 2021), saying that she had to constantly stop herself from looking at the scoreboard since she was "starstruck".

"Venus and Serena Williams, they are people that I look up to, but they're also my competitors which is crazy that I can say that," the 17-year-old continued. "You know, I felt like that was a far-fetched dream."
"I remember when I played Venus at Wimbledon and at Australian Open, both times I had to tell myself not to look at the scoreboard because I would be starstruck. They're definitely fierce competitors on the court, but off the court they're both really nice people and really funny, goofy people," she added.

"You're not doing anything if people aren't talking about you in a negative way"- Serena Williams on dealing with naysayers

Serena Williams at the 2021 Roland Garros
Serena Williams at the 2021 Roland Garros

Coco Gauff concluded her video message by asking the legendary sisters how they maintain a balance between dominating the sport and dealing with criticism. Serena Williams explained that people usually talk negatively about someone only when they achieve something. She revealed that she was thus able to take criticism in her stride.

"You're not doing anything if people aren't talking about you in a negative way," Serena Williams said. "So I look at it as a plus. It's just that the world that we live in, people can just be mean sometimes. But at the end of the day, you go home with you, you don't go home with these people are being cruel. I'm so good at blocking it out. I actually only hear positive things. That's how good I am."

The 23-time Grand Slam champion stated that she doesn't pay heed to critics, since they're people who are either jealous of her or want to be where she is. Venus Williams added that it's important to focus on oneself since that's the only thing one can control.

"Naysayers, for me, I just don't hear them. Successful people or someone that's doing something in their life they're not bringing you down. It's usually someone that is either jealous or unhappy or want to be you," Serena Williams added.
"It's just, focus on you. That's all you can control. Everything else, it's all background noise," Venus Williams chimed in.

King Richard releases today in US theaters. Here's a glimpse of what you can expect from the Will Smith-starrer.

“They gonna respect y’all.” Will Smith is #KingRichard, in the incredible true story of how Venus & Serena Williams rose to greatness. IN THEATERS and streaming exclusively on @HBOMax* November 19. Get tickets now: kingrichardfilm.com https://t.co/6XtjC6l13l

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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