"No lights, 5 am, pitch dark" - Serena Williams' former coach Rick Macci reminisces about coaching the legend as a 10-year old

Rick Macci with Serena Williams and the Williams family
Rick Macci with Serena Williams and the Williams family

Serena Williams' former coach, Rick Macci, fondly recalled coaching the ten-year-old tennis phenom back in 1991.

Macci coached both Serena and Venus Williams when they were young girls. The Williams family relocated from Compton to West Palm Beach, Florida, when Serena was nine years old so that she and Venus could receive training from Macci, the same tennis coach who has trained renowned players such as Andy Roddick, Jennifer Capriati, and Maria Sharapova.

The 68-year old is a United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Master Professional and a seven-time USPTA National Coach of the Year. Rick Macci was inducted into the USPTA Hall of Fame in October 2017, becoming the 19th professional and the youngest person ever to receive the honor.

Macci recently looked back on the time he coached ten-year-old Serena Williams in the early morning hours, with no lights illuminating the dark court. He recalled how Williams' father, Richard Williams, would shine a flashlight in his daughter's eyes while she was hitting volleys.

"First lesson with 10 year old @serenawilliams at Grenelefe Resort 1991 no lights 5 am pitch dark Richard gets a flashlight and keeps turning it on/off in Serena eyes while we hit volleys! At the end of the day a winner finds a way! Love this guy! ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ‘€," Macci tweeted.

Rick Macci trained the Williams sisters from 1991 to 1994. In 1995, Richard Williams took over coaching duties entirely, ceasing to send his daughters to the academy. Macci was instrumental in helping the Williams sisters hone their skills and develop their talents, setting them on the path to becoming two of the most successful tennis players of all time.

"I was not consulted on the movie" - Rick Macci believes he should have been engaged in production of King Richard film

Venus Williams receives instructions from her father Richard and coach Macci circa 1992.
Venus Williams receives instructions from her father Richard and coach Macci circa 1992.

The movie King Richard chronicles the extraordinary lengths taken by Richard Williams and Rick Macci to train the Williams sisters and transform them into world-renowned champions.

While Rick Macci's role was included in the film, the tennis coach was dissatisfied that he had not been consulted by the film producers. He expressed his displeasure, citing that he felt his input could have been beneficial to the production.

"I didn't know how the movie was gonna go even when I talked to the producers, cause see, I was not consulted on the movie," he said. "I wasn't involved. I should have been, it would have been even better. I got more stories than anybody and no one can tell a story, especially about Venus and Serena."

The movie was released on November 19, 2021.

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

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Edited by Siddharth Dhananjay
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