“It was okay for a Black person to be a footballer but not a tennis player” Will Smith talks about the challenges Venus and Serena Williams faced

Will Smith talks about the challenges the Williams sisters, Serena Williams and Venus Williams faced when they were breaking on to the scene in tennis.

Venus Williams, Will Smith, Serena Williams
Venus Williams, Will Smith, Serena Williams

Will Smith is currently promoting his upcoming film ‘King Richard’ which is a biographical drama about Richard Williams, father of the famous Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. The film shows the story of the Williams family who now has become a common household name because of their records and achievements on the tennis courts.

Smith along with actors Saniyya Sidney, who plays Venus, and Demi Singleton, who plays Serena, were invited to the All-England Tennis Club on the courts of the Wimbledon Championships where the Williams sisters have a combined total of 12 Singles titles (7 Serena, 5 Venus) and 6 Doubles titles won together while Serena also has a Mixed-Doubles title whereas Venus was a runner-up in the Mixed-Doubles discipline.

Speaking from the court of Wimbledon in his interview, Smith talked about how difficult it was for the two girls from Compton to come into a sport that was almost exclusive for Whites and not many Blacks were at the top-level in the tennis.

“It was okay for a Black person to be a footballer, but not a tennis player. It was completely, thoroughly and totally unheard of that one young Black girl was going to be number one, let alone two. It’s one of the hardest barriers to overcome, an unconscious barrier in someone’s mind,” said Smith on the challenges the Williams sisters faced.

King Richard to hit the theatres on November 19

A still from the motion picture King Richard. Richard (Will Smith), Venus (Saniyya Sidney), Serena (Demi Singleton).
A still from the motion picture King Richard. Richard (Will Smith), Venus (Saniyya Sidney), Serena (Demi Singleton).

Ever since the trailer of the movie was released, tennis fans across the globe are excited to see the story of two of the most prolific champions of tennis and how they battled the odds to become World No. 1 in both the Singles and Doubles discipline and also go on to win Olympic medals for the USA team becoming two of the most decorated tennis Olympians.

Serena in a recent statement explained why they decided to make the movie and what was the thinking behind telling their story through the movie. The movie will release on 19th November on HBO Max and also in theatres and large crowds are already expected after the movie gained positive reviews after its world premiere at the 48th Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2021.

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