Serena and Venus’ father, Richard, is often the focus when it comes to the women’s story of becoming tennis phenoms. But, as the six-time Wimbledon winner shared during an episode of Facebook’s “Red Table Talk,” their mother is equally worthy of praise.
Oracene Price was not only their mother, and at one point their tennis coach, but also the literal “backbone” of the family of seven. Serena shared that early on during their days of their father training her and Venus, he made the decision to stop working — instead choosing to pour all of his energies in making sure his daughters were the best on the tennis court.
“He’s like, ‘This is what we’re going to do. I’m not going to have a job. I’m gonna go with Venus and Serena, and train them every day,’ ” said Serena at the red table. Sitting with were Will Smith, who plays her father in the film “King Richard,” a movie that shines the spotlight on Richard Williams, Venus, sisters Isha and Lyndrea and Price.
The very thought of being the sole provider for the family was a reality that even now Serena finds challenging to wrap her mind around. “Now that would be impossible for me if my husband [Alexis Ohanian] were to tell me that,” she noted.
Serena and Alexis, co-founder of social platform Reddit, married in 2017. The couple has one child, daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. “I’d be like, ‘I kinda worked my whole life. I’m trying to relax a little bit,’ ” Serena continued. But for Price, kicking her feet up was not an option. “She had to support seven people,” she added.
Serena believes the sacrifices of her and Venus’ mother were also a major part of their ability to pour their all into the sport they loved so much. “To have that faith and to have that back-end support, we wouldn’t have survived without that.”
Venus has echoed similar praises for her mother in the past. “She provided the balance and stability, both emotionally and spiritually,” wrote Venus for her site Elevenbyvenuswilliams. “My father soaked up the spotlight as a larger than life character who created two tennis phenoms, but it was my mother who was the backbone and driving force behind both him, Serena, and I.”