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‘My Dad Was Way Before His Time’: Serena Williams Speaks on Dad’s Personality and How It Led To Success In Her Career

Serena and Venus Williams are two names that have carried on for years in the tennis world. Many who are familiar with their story are aware that the two started playing tennis at a young age and it was their father, Richard Williams, who was the catalyst for their current success and legendary status in tennis.

While it’s been told before, now the story about Richard introducing the sport to his daughters is getting told in more detail next month in a new movie called “King Richard.” Prominent actor Will Smith plays Richard in the 138-minute film.

Serena Williams (R) of the USA celebrates with her father Richard Williams and sister Venus Williams after her Ladies’ Singles final match against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland on day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 7, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Giving some insight into what her father is like, Serena told GQ for a September feature on Will Smith, “My dad was and still is way before his time. 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. They think, How do we break them? My dad anticipated that, but he would not allow himself or his family to be broken.”

When the trailer dropped in July, many fans were ecstatic about the movie, but others just raised eyebrows and had questions. There were questions about whether Smith was the right fit for the role, and some even wanted to know why the film wasn’t more about the Williams sisters than their father.

Serena, a 23-time Grand Slam winner, had a simple answer for that: “There would be no Venus and Serena if it wasn’t for Richard,” she said in August during a Refinery29 interview. Continuing to speak highly of her father, she shared similar sentiments to the point she said earlier about him being ahead of his time.

The mother of one said, “He’s always thinking on a different level. Even now, he is always thinking five steps above everyone else. And the way he taught tennis with techniques, the way he pushed myself and my sister, it was a great opportunity to tell his story.”

“King Richard” will premiere in movie theaters on Nov. 19.

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