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The time I spent with Richard Williams and His Daughters Venus & Serena



by Zachary Husser

Dear Family,

Happy Holiday Weekend to all of my Family of Friends Network Crew. It just occurred to me that I must say a few words about the legacy being crafted right in front of us by the iconic Serena Williams! Most folk will talk about the victories she has amassed as she dominates Women’s Professional Tennis. However, what I love about Serena is the “Will To Win” under All Circumstances that She has shown All of Our Black Women, whether they be youthful or experienced by years. Serena Williams is the “Template” We need to buy and sell to our Black Family of Friends. This is the time WE really need a great “Role Model” Black Woman that is real personable, has her flaws, is as human as everyone of Us, but never stays down in the fight to be a Black Woman before being described as a Tennis Star.

Over the past decade or more, my wife Joan and I had the distinct pleasure to meet the Williams’ Family. During those years, Joan and I worked for the U.S. Open Tennis Organization in New York City during one of the Grand Slam Tournaments in this World for Tennis. My job was to pick up tennis players and their families upon their arrival at the local Airports and transport them to their hotels or where they stayed in the Big Apple. Through a coincidence, I was called to pick up Richard Williams to take him from his hotel in midtown Manhattan to a few scheduled stops around the City. During the drive, Richard and I got into some very Black conversations and I took him on a tour of Harlem. We ended up in Harlem because Richard and Venus wanted some Fish and Chips. I took them to the Fish Spot that used to be on the corner of 129th Street and Lenox Avenue. Venus and Richard talked about that fish meal every time I ran into them at the Tennis Courts in Queens.

A few days after giving Richard Williams that tour of Harlem, I was called into the Administrative Offices of the Transportation Unit for the U.S. Open. I thought I had done something wrong, but the call was about Richard Williams asking that I be assigned to transport Serena, Venus, and He for the entire Month of the US Open Tennis Tournament. I was blown away and overwhelmed at the same time. This was the beginning of a friendship I developed with Richard Williams that gave me the opportunity to talk with Serena, Venus, Richard, and all of their friends.

Richard is just what you see on TV, an outgoing guy who takes no BS from anyone and that includes his daughters when he’s instructing them about on court tennis or off court demeanor! I was given the opportunity to see the Williams Family up close and personal. Whenever I picked up Serena, she always sat in the front seat and talked about things going on in society. She is and was the most friendly of the two sisters. I would say that Serena is more like her Dad Richard in personality, but with a softer approach. Venus is quiet, but let me say this, Serena’s older Sister is the idol she emulated that drove her to the success we see today! Venus is also over 6 feet tall and an imposing beautiful Black woman up close. She talks, but it always appeared she was thinking about other things than tennis. This is just my recollection.

In concluding, I want to salute Richard Williams, the architect who molded two of the greatest Women Tennis Players we have ever seen in our life time. I also want to thank Venus and Serena for giving me so much respect and asking me questions that my young daughter Najah would ask me. I’m friends with Richard up until right now. I used to call him on his cell phone and talk about how things were going and when would he be coming to NYC so we could connect. That’s my inside Story about my personal relationship with Serena, Venus, and Richard Williams, the First Family of Women’s Tennis!

Finally, please take a look at an excellent article about Serena Williams at https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/its-not-enough-for-young-…/ and get more insight into who Serena Williams is!

In the Interest of Telling Our Story,

Brother Zachary C. Husser, National Communication Advisor
Fathers in Education Campaign, Inc.

Zachary Cornell Husser is a NY/NJ Community Organizer and member of the Columbia University men’s basketball teams of 1967–70. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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