- Will Smith hosted Venus and Serena Williams as well as their mom and sisters on “Red Table Talk.”
- The appearance was the family’s first-ever interview as a full family.
- In an exclusive clip, the sisters joke about their mom’s unpredictable wit and Twitter presence.
Venus and Serena Williams have done more than their fair share of interviews over the course of their illustrious, decades-long professional tennis careers.
But for the first time ever, the superstar sisters — who own a combined 33 Grand Slam singles titles between them — were joined by their mother and two sisters for an unprecedented full-family sit-down conversation with Will Smith.
Will Smith sat down with tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams on the latest episode of Red Table Talk in preparation for the release of the new movie King Richard.
In the film, Will depicts Venus and Serena’s tenacious and determined father, Richard Williams. Through struggles and successes, Richard fought to help his tennis-playing daughters make it to the upper echelon of their sport.
Later, the tennis icons’ mother and sisters join the episode for their very first appearance as a family. The Williams chatted with Will about how their mother also played a significant role in helping them make it to where they are today.
“My dad at one point was working and then he stopped,” Serena explained. “He’s like this is what we’re going to do: ‘I’m not going to have a job and I’m going to go with Venus and Serena and train them everyday.’”
“Now that would be impossible for me if my husband [Alexis Ohanian Jr.] were to tell me that. I’d be like ‘Well I’ve kind of been working my whole life, I’m trying to relax a little bit,’” Serena noted. Speaking of her mother Oracene Price’s strength as she and her siblings grew up, Serena added, “She had to support seven people — it was a family of seven. And so to have that faith and to have that backend support — we wouldn’t have survived without that.”
“My mom was really the guiding force, and you can see that with her words — they’re wise and full of fun,” Venus said with a chuckle. “They’re fun and she’s very witty.”
Throughout the episode, Will, Venus, Serena and the rest of the gang unpacked other “lessons, losses, wisdom, and wins” from behind-the-scenes stories of King Richard. Viewers also got star-studded surprises from other famous fans of the tennis-playing dup, including Simone Biles, Coco Gauff, Naomi Campbell and more.
Tennis pros Venus Williams, 41, and Serena Williams, 40, both showed off their killer legs on the red carpet. Both sisters eat mostly plant-based to stay fit.
This Throwback Interview Of Richard Williams Defending Venus’ Confidence At 14 Is Black Fatherhood At Its Finest
Every few years, a video of Venus Williams having her confidence questioned by a reporter, and her father, Richard Williams, stepping in to defend her, resurfaces. But this time around, with the help of Chicago-based rapper and activist Ric Wilson (check out his recent EP, BANBA), it’s gone viral and been shared by a number of celebrities, and for good reason.
The interview happened back in 1995, and took place for the ABC News program, Day One. A then 14-year-old Venus conversed with correspondent John McKenzie about what she feels inside when she’s on the court, and her confidence when it comes to playing opponents who, at the time, were much older than her. When asked if she thought she could beat a player who isn’t identified in the resurfaced clip, she says, “I know I can beat her,” to which McKenzie responds, “You know [you can beat her]? Very confident.”
When she replies that she is indeed “very confident,” he then begins to quiz her about the reason she’s so comfortable in her abilities, asking, “You say it so easily. Why?”
From there, Richard steps in.
“What she said, she said it with so much confidence the first time, but you keep going on and on,” he said.
When Richard interrupts the interview, McKenzie tries to tell him that they can’t continue with his interruptions, but Richard lets him know they won’t continue if he keeps trying to break the spirit of a child.
“You’ve got to understand that you’re dealing with the image of a 14-year-old child,” he said. “And this child gonna be out there playing when your old a– and me gonna be in the grave. When she say something, we done told you what’s happening. You’re dealing with a little Black kid, and let her be a kid! She done answered it with a lot of confidence, leave that alone!”
McKenzie probably could have formed the question in a different way, but definitely, hearing him sound not impressed, but rather, a tad puzzled by her confidence is disappointing. Interesting enough, the segment actually earned him an Emmy nomination.
As for Venus, now 38, she certainly had a reason to be confident. She went on to win seven Grand Slam singles titles. Along with sister Serena, she is known as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, so it’s clear that Richard was right when speaking on the importance of not trying to interfere with a child’s confidence. This is particularly important for a Black child, who in this world, often struggles to be treated as a simple, innocent kid.
Richard Williams (tennis coach)
Richard Williams Full name Richard Dove Williams Jr. Born February 14, 1942
Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
Coaching career (1994–present) Coaching achievements Coachee Singles Titles total 49(V)-73(S) (122 titles) Coachee(s) Doubles Titles total 21(S-V)-2(V)-5(S) (28 titles) List of notable tournaments
- Career Golden Slam – Singles (Serena)
- 7× Australian Open (Serena)
- 3× French Open (Serena)
- 12× Wimbledon (Williams sisters)
- 8× US Open (Williams sisters)
- 2× Olympic Gold Medal (Williams sisters)
- 6× WTA Tour Championships (Williams sisters)
- 28× WTA Tier I/Premier Mandatory/Premier 5 (Williams sisters)
- Career Golden Slam – Doubles (Williams sisters)
- 4× Australian Open (Williams sisters)
- 2× French Open (Williams sisters)
- 5x Wimbledon (Williams sisters)
- 2× US Open (Williams sisters)
- 3× Olympic Gold Medal
- Fed Cup champions (Williams sisters)
- 2× Hopman Cup (Serena)
- List of titles
Coaching awards and records Records
William’s was one of five children and the only son of Julia Mae Metcalf (died 1985) and Richard Dove Williams Sr. of Shreveport, Louisiana. His younger sisters are Pat, Barbara, Penny, and Faye. For a time, the family resided on East 79th Street near railroad tracks.
Williams graduated from high school and moved to Saginaw, Michigan and eventually to California.
He took tennis lessons from a man known as “Old Whiskey” and decided his future daughters would be tennis professionals when he saw Virginia Ruzici playing on television. Williams says that he wrote up an 85-page plan, and started giving lessons to Venus and Serena when they were four and a half, and began taking them to the public tennis courts. He would later add that he felt like he took them too early, and the age of six would have been more suitable. Soon he got them into Shreveport tennis tournaments. In 1995, Williams pulled them out of a tennis academy, and coached them himself.
Serena won the US Open in 1999; Venus beat Lindsay Davenport to win the 2000 Wimbledon title. After that victory, Richard shouted “Straight Outta Compton!”, in reference to a song by N.W.A based in Compton, California, the same area in Los Angeles where the family once resided.
The Williams Sisters, “THE GREATEST OF TENNIS”
The Williams sisters are two professional American tennis players: Venus Williams (b. 1980), a seven-time Grand Slam title winner (singles), and Serena Williams (b. 1981), twenty-three-time Grand Slam title winner (singles), both of whom were coached from an early age by their parents Richard Williams and Oracene Price. There is a noted professional rivalry between them— between the 2001 US Open and the 2017 Australian Open tournaments, they met in nine Grand Slam singles finals. They became the first two players, female or male, to play in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals from the 2002 French Open to the 2003 Australian Open; Serena famously won all four to complete the first of two “Serena Slams”. Between 2000 and 2016, a 17-year span, they collectively won 12 Wimbledon singles titles (Venus won five, and Serena won seven). By winning the 2001 Australian Open women’s doubles title, they became the fifth pair to complete the Career Doubles Grand Slam and the only pair to complete the Career Doubles Golden Slam. At the time, Venus and Serena were only 20 and 19 years old, respectively. Since then, they have gone on to add another two Olympic gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. Nearly a decade later, the duo would go on to win four consecutive Grand Slam doubles titles from 2009 Wimbledon through 2010 Roland Garros, which would catapult them to co-No. 1 doubles players on 7 June 2010. Two weeks later, on 21 June 2010, Serena would hold the No. 1 singles ranking, and Venus would be right behind her at No. 2 in singles. Their most recent Grand Slam doubles titles came at the 2012 Wimbledon and 2016 Wimbledon events. They remain very close, often watching each other’s matches in support, even after one of them has been knocked out of a tournament.
Both sisters have been ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association at the world No. 1 position in both singles and doubles. In 2002, after the French Open, Venus Williams and Serena Williams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, marking the first time in history that sisters occupied the top 2 singles spots in the world rankings. During the 2010 French Open, they became the co-world No. 1 players in women’s doubles. On 21 June 2010, Serena and Venus again held the No. 1 and No. 2 rankings spots in singles, respectively, some eight years after first accomplishing this feat. At the time, Serena was three months shy of her 29th birthday and Venus had just celebrated her 30th birthday.
Both players have won four gold medals at the Summer Olympics, one each in singles and three in doubles—all won together—the most of any tennis players. Venus has also won a silver in mixed doubles at the 2016 Rio Olympics. As a duo, they have also completed the Career Golden Slam in doubles, twice. Between the two of them, they have completed the Boxed Set, winning all four grand slams in singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. They won all of the mixed doubles titles in 1998 to go along with their titles in singles and women’s doubles.