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"Her portrayal of Venus Williams is beyond iconic" - Rick Macci on Saniyya Sidney's performance in "King Richard"

(l) Saniyya Sidney in the movie, a young Venus Williams (r) and Rick Macci (insert)
(l) Saniyya Sidney in the movie, a young Venus Williams (r) and Rick Macci (insert)
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Saniyya Sidney's portrayal of Venus Williams in the movie "King Richard" has earned her plenty of accolades. In a recent interview, her riveting performance was praised by Venus Williams' former coach Rick Macci.

Macci recalled how they established a relationship because Sidney wanted to play the role perfectly.

"First off I love this kid, I just love this kid you know. We actually built a relationship before I even saw the movie. Her manager, they were following me on Instagram and she built such a bond and connection with John Bernthal, who played me in the movie and that's how deep into the character she was that she wanted one day to talk to me," Macci said.

He added that after getting to know Sidney better, he found her to be a sweet and genuine person.

"So we set up a call one day when I got off the court on a Saturday. Had a 45 minute call, just a sweet kid, genuine, right then and there I fell in love with her and I didn't even know her and I haven't even seen the movie other than the trailer."

The duo have a wonderful relationship. Sidney recently posted a photo with Macci on her Instagram, captioned:

"Premiere Pre-Gaming on the court with the true original Coach Rick Macci! 🎾 #kingrichard"

Calling her performance "beyond epic," Macci was impressed by how Venus Williams' mannerisms were nailed by the young actress.

"But her performance is beyond epic and what I mean is the walk, the way she walked like Venus, the way she moved her shoulders, her mannerisms, all right and all these subtleties blew me away," he said.

Macci labeled Sidney a "a superstar in the making" and once again gushed about her brilliant portrayal of Venus Williams.

"The movie's a little bit more about Venus you know because it's about her career early on. So Saniyya's performance and she's been an actress since age five and this is a superstar in the making," Macci said. "If not even after this movie I mean she's going to win some crazy awards because her portrayal of Venus Williams is beyond iconic," he added.

Saniyya Sidney's portrayal of Venus Williams brought back memories: Rick Macci

A young Venus Williams with father Richard Williams and Rick Macci
A young Venus Williams with father Richard Williams and Rick Macci

Rick Macci also revealed that seeing Saniyya Sidney perfect all of Venus Williams' on-court moves reminded him of the time he gave lessons to a young Williams.

"When I went with her on the tennis court, when I went out to California, the way she even held the racquet, the way she took the racquet back, the way she moved, the way she rotated her hips, the way she did all these subtle nuances that most people wouldn't understand unless they really saw Venus or their tennis people but in my eyes it was like I was giving a lesson to little Venus again."

Her performance was even more impressive considering Sidney is left-handed and had to learn to play with her other hand for the movie.

"What was crazy that she's left-handed, she learned to play right-handed and she never played tennis. So out of thousands of people who tried out for this role, only one got to play little Venus and Saniyya Sidney knocked it out of the park," Macci said.

Macci called Sidney the perfect choice for the role and praised her personality.

"It couldn't have been done any better and it couldn't be done by a better person, a better actress. I mean this girl is going to be a superstar and what I like more than anything, very sweet and genuine and those are qualities I think that you need to be great in anything, but I love Saniyya Sidney," Macci concluded.

"King Richard" has been lauded by many. The film has received four Golden Globe nominations, including in the Best Motion Picture category.


Edited by Anantaajith Ra
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