Hollywood superstar Will Smith plays Richard Williams, father and ex-coach of Serena and Venus Williams in the movie King Richard. The biographical film covers the journey of the Williams sisters when they were young, under the watchful guidance of their father. Richard Williams introduced his daughters to tennis at the age of four, and groomed each of them to be world no. 1, multiple grand slam winners, and Olympic champions.
The meticulous Richard had drafted a 78 pages manifesto that outlined the tennis career he had planned for his daughters. Safe to say, it panned out well, since the duo, often dubbed as the ‘Williams sisters’, went on to conquer a white-people dominated sport. Serena and Venus have won 30 grand slam singles titles (Serena: 23 Venus: 7) 28 doubles titles (Serena: 14 Venus :14, paired together and unbeaten in finals), and 4 mixed doubles titles (2 each). Venus spent 11 weeks as the singles world no. 1, and was the first African-American woman in the Open Era to do so. Serena has spent a whopping 319 weeks atop the WTA rankings.
The movie, King Richard, does an incredible job of portraying the struggles of two black kids from Compton. To make it big in a sport that was almost always reserved for the racial elite, is undoubtedly praiseworthy. And behind the sisters success was the unwavering belief of their father. He teased them with tales of glory, and pushed them to success, all the while reminding them that success never comes easy, especially to people of colour. Will Smith’s brilliant portrayal of the lead has already led to talks about him being nominated for an Oscar. And opinion piece on USA Today said “Smith is a force in King Richard. His Best Actor nomination will be as deserved as it may be inevitable.”
Twitterati reaction to King Richard:
King Richard has opened the floodgates of a crossover between the tennis world and Hollywood buffs. Between the star-stature of the Williams sisters, and the casting of Will Smith as the titular lead, fans had been eagerly waiting for the movie to be released. Based on reaction, one can only assume that they were not disappointed.