Sibling tennis royalty returns to Compton
Venus, Serena Williams redefined professional women’s tennis; return home to tennis court dedication, ‘Healthy Compton Festival’ COMPTON — Tennis royalty Venus and Serena Williams returned to the home of their youth, Nov. 12, to have tennis
Venus, Serena Williams redefined professional women’s tennis; return home to tennis court dedication, ‘Healthy Compton Festival’
COMPTON — Tennis royalty Venus and Serena Williams returned to the home of their youth, Nov. 12, to have tennis courts dedicated in their honor.
It was only befitting for the two who learned the rudiments of tennis under the guidance of their father Richard Williams, going on to achieve superstardom on the courts, dominating the games for years, winning every conceivable major crown — Wimbledon, U.S. Open, French Open, and Australian Open, achieving massive wealth in the process.
About 300 people eagerly awaited the sisters’ arrival at Lueders Park in East Compton, where they were enthusiastically greeted by cheers at two newly refurbished courts fenced with lighting that now hosts three tennis camps and clinics.
Today, four hanging banners proclaim them the Venus & Serena Williams Court of Champions.
“We literally lived right down the street so we could walk there,” Venus told the crowd. “It’s been a surreal experience to be back in this way. To have the tennis court refurbished, to make sure that there’s coaching available, to make sure that these programs go on and to make sure that this sport stays here in our community, it’s a big part of bringing us all up and creating positivity for young people.”
“We are really excited to be here,” Serena added. “Driving here brought back so many memories. We definitely want to see some more champions come from these courts.”
The sisters first learned to play tennis a few miles away on courts in an unincorporated area adjoining Compton called Rancho Dominguez under an unrelentingly fierce father/coach in Richard, who didn’t attend Saturday’s ceremony. They were accompanied by their mother, Oracene Price.
According to Mayor Aja Brown, Venus and Serena Williams are sending a positive message to young people.
“When you consider all the challenges and all the obstacles that the Williams sisters had to overcome […] they stayed focused and dedicated, so that same message is being transferred over,” Brown said.
After the ceremony, the sisters participated in the Healthy Compton Festival at the Martin Luther King Jr. Transit Center, where they accompanied fitness dancers in a series of “dancercise” routines.
The sisters are helping fund the Yetunde Price Resource Center in Compton, named for their sister who was killed in a violent altercation in September 2003, The center will help connect residents affected by trauma.
Brown called this aspect of the homecoming a “healing moment.”
“They haven’t been to the city of Compton since their sister passed away,” she said. “All of us in the community in some way have been touched by violence.”