"Really breaking the mold; Really spearheading this for us and being progressive" - Vania King hails Serena Williams' father Richard Williams for inspiring more fathers of minorities to become tennis parents

Serena Williams and her father Richard Williams
Serena Williams and her father Richard Williams

Vania King thanked Venus and Serena Williams' father Richard Williams for inspiring many parents from minority families to encourage their kids to take up tennis as a career. King expressed that Williams Sr's efforts to introduce Serena and Venus Williams to tennis gave her own father great confidence about her foray into tennis at a time when the sport lacked inclusivity.

Similar to the Williams sisters, King also grew up in Southern California. Venus and Serena Williams overcame many obstacles to eventually make great waves in the sport by the time King took up tennis seriously.

"Her dad inspired my dad a lot, so thanks, Richard," Vania King said during her appearance on a recent episode of the Tennis Channel podcast.

The two-time doubles Grand Slam champion said that while she needed to work quite hard to be able to make it to the top, she is grateful for the impetus provided by the example of the Williams family. King further hailed Richard Williams for breaking stereotypes and fighting discrimination back then to introduce Venus and Serena Williams to tennis, both of whom ended up having legendary careers.

"Someone that didn't look quite like me but being a minority was very compelling. Having a father that coaches his daughters, which is very different than the white male-dominated sport where it's a white coach wearing white clothes and teaching a white player. So it was really breaking the mold and that gave my parents and my dad specifically a lot of inspiration," King expressed.

The 33-year-old stated that she and many other tennis players would not have been able to make it to the top of the sport without the inspiration provided by Venus, Serena, and Richard Williams.

"So I can't say I'd be where I am if it weren't for her (Serena Williams). I can't say a lot of us would be where we are if it weren't for them. Really spearheading this for us and being progressive. And fighting for it, because it was tough back then. There was a lot of discrimination and racism," she added.

"That was just icing on the cake" - Vania King on playing against Serena Williams on tour

Serena Williams and Vania King (R) at the 2016 US Open
Serena Williams and Vania King (R) at the 2016 US Open

Vania King further opened up about Serena Williams' legacy in the sport and her own experience of playing against the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion. The doubles former World No. 3 pointed out that Williams started playing on tour a decade before she debuted and ended up hanging up her tennis racquet after she retired, highlighting the American legend's legacy and longevity.

King stated that sharing the court with Williams was an "icing on the cake" for her and an experience she will always cherish. They squared off against each other in the second round of the 2016 US Open.

"Serena is amazing. She started a decade before me, I watched her on TV, and then we played together. I feel honored now that I was able to play against her. She retired a few years after I did. That just shows the legacy she has physically, emotionally, mentally, and just in terms of history," Vania King said.
"When I got to play with her and against her on tour, that was just icing on the cake."

King, who won 15 doubles titles on tour, retired in April 2021 after a 15-year professional career. Meanwhile, Serena Williams ended her illustrious 27-year-long professional career at the 2022 US Open.

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Edited by Keshav Gopalan
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