Richard Williams, the father of Serena Williams and Venus Williams, has been a significant influence in the lives of the two sisters both on and off court. Richard introduced his daughters to tennis and played a major role in their early development.
The impending release of King Richard, a biographical film based on the 79-year-old, has led to a renewed interest in the relationship that he shared with his daughters.
Speaking to Wesley Lowery of GQ, Serena Williams said that growing up, she and sister Venus were "different" from other tennis players, possibly hinting at their African-American roots. According to Serena, many people tried to "break" her and sister Venus, but Richard Williams was always present to protect them.
"You see, when someone is different—when they don’t act or look how a person assumed they would—the first reaction is often fear," Serena Williams said. "They think, How do we break them?"
Williams went on to describe her father as someone who was well ahead of his time. The 23-time Grand Slam winner said her father anticipated a lot of negativity and backlash, but did not let any of it affect his daughters' tennis or personal lives.
"My dad anticipated that, but he would not allow himself or his family to be broken," she added. "He was and still is way before his time.”
Serena Williams spotted vacationing with family and friends
Serena Williams' 2021 season has been marred by injury and she is currently on a break from tennis. She last played competitively at the Wimbledon Championships, where she retired in the first round after sustaining a leg injury.
The American recently posted a series of photographs from her family vacation in Puerto Rico. The photographs featured her husband Alexis Ohanian, daughter Olympia and a few of her close friends.
As things stand, it's unclear when the 40-year-old will return to action. She will not be competing in the BNP Paribas Open, which is the final WTA event of the season, and has not spoken of her plans for the rest of the year.