Written by Staff Writer
The annals of tennis have been full of phenomenal achievement by the Williams sisters. Venus has won seven Grand Slam titles, while her younger sister Serena now leads the list of active Grand Slam singles titles (Serena has 37), while the duo are playing in the Wimbledon Championships this year.
However, there’s another woman, not present on court, who has always been a vital part of their success: their mother Oracene Price.
In “The God of Tennis: Serena and Venus Williams, God and Serena,” Wimbledon’s longest-serving tennis correspondent Dan Rosen illuminates the unseen role of the “pride of Detroit” in their sport and life, as well as their unique relationship.
“This is an extraordinary and inspiring documentary,” Rosen says. “It’s about Venus and Serena Williams, and their relationship with their mother. This story sheds some interesting light on their relationships.”
Oracene Price bears a distinct resemblance to her famous daughters, yet is a hardworking businesswoman whose job as a sports agent was to sell their coveted status on the court.
“People used to say, ‘Are you sure your daughters are going to be successful, because you’ve seen all these people fail’,” a testimonial from Venus says. “However, they’ve gone through a lot and their mother has always been there with their backs.”
Tennis documentary airs on London TV channel
Price also tries to help her daughters with their career, both professional and personal.
Venus, who has been based in Australia since 2013, won Wimbledon doubles with sister, Serena, in 2007. At the time, she was the youngest player ever to win doubles at Wimbledon, surpassing her sister’s achievement in 1995.
Their relationship is laid bare in the documentary, with Serena admitting that her mother didn’t understand her when she was “three or four years old and I couldn’t talk to her”.
Serena has spoken to her mother before many times in the past, but Price was always unable to explain her daughter’s behaviour.
“She was very jealous and competitive when she was young,” Price says. “I always told her, ‘If you want to be the best, you have to learn to be the best no matter what anyone else thinks.’”
This new film also revisits Price’s time in the sport, which saw her a top-ranked player in the US at the time she gave birth to her first child, Serena.
“I was a very competitive person,” she recalls. “I didn’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing but I just had to find my way around it and stop turning it against myself.”
The documentary documents the night Serena won her second Grand Slam title, also named Wimbledon, in 1999, while Price was in hospital giving birth to her fifth child, Jamie.
“We were worried she wouldn’t be able to make it at the moment, because we didn’t know how many times the baby had come out,” Price says. “I was so proud and I think a lot of people have that emotion of being very proud.”