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By now, everyone and his or her mother has heard about Venus and Serena Williams. The two sisters are tennis stars in their own rights, coming from very humble beginnings while being raised in Compton. They have gone on to win countless championships and score sponsorships left and right, but not without the help of their father.

Richard Williams spoke to us about his new book, Black and White: The Way I See It, in which he details the struggles of his past, like being raised in the south during the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror, which influenced his outspoken and controversial personality.

Co-written by Bart Davis, the book takes a look into Richard’s life, from the time he was born to the time his daughters were some of the most important figures in sports.

Because he grew up without a father, he looked up to and adored his mom, who he says taught him everything he knows.

“Everything I learned, I learned from my mom. My mom taught me to be honest, never to lie, never to cheat on my wife,” he said. “My mom taught me to be the best human being I could be. She taught me how to be a father. She taught me how to be a husband.”

“My mom was always my hero.”

From the start, he tried to be the best father he could possibly be. He planned extensively for the future and knew he wanted his girls to play tennis.

“I wanted them to play tennis because I watched a match on television and the girl, she won $40,000. I said, ‘That’s not bad for four days.’ I said, ‘That must be a joke. I worked all my life and someone’s making $40,000 in four days?'”

From there, he taught himself how to play tennis, a predominantly white sport, in order to teach his kids. He devised a 78-page plan, which laid out exactly how he wanted to raise Venus and Serena.

When it comes to critics saying he pushed his children too hard professionally, he cannot disagree any more.

“They liked the game too much,” he said. “I had to take the racket away. Venus would practice in her room. I would find holes in the wall and find out she was practicing.

“I didn’t push them, they pushed me.”

He continued, “I tried to get Venus to stop playing tennis when she was 12 years old. She was running track and had never lost a track meet. I liked the track better so I tried to get her to quit.”

Quitting is not something the Williams sisters take lightly.

Last week, the two pulled out of Wimbledon because Serena was fatigued, unable to hit the ball over the net. She even pulled out of the Swedish Open, of which she is the defending champion, due to a virus.

Right now, Richard said she is on the road to recovery.

“Serena is doing a whole heck of a lot better,” he said, mentioning she was staying in France.

As for the rumors she’s pregnant with coach and boyfriend Patrick Mouratoglou?

“Absolutely not,” says Richard. He joked, saying if all the rumors surrounding a Williams pregnancy were true, Serena would have been pregnant for years now.

When it comes to a baby Williams, Richard’s focus is now on his one-year-old son with wife Lakeisha Graham, Dylan.

Unlike his daughters, he wants Dylan to stay as far away from sports as possible.

“I don’t want him working plantations like I did,” he says. Richard wants Dylan to study business, hoping to have him emerged in the business world “by age 16.” Baby Dylan is currently learning to speak English as his first language and Spanish and Chinese as his second and third.

Above all, Richard just hopes to live in a world without prejudice, whether it be in sports or business or just everyday life.

“It doesn’t matter what a person does, whether they’re prejudiced or not,” he said. “There is mercy in everyone’s heart, all you have to do is find it.”

Be sure to check out more of the man behind the legendary Williams sisters in his new book Black and White: The Way I See It.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

Three Peas In A Pod: Venus & Serena Williams With Their Dad Through The Years (PHOTOS)
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