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Venus Williams

Related Biography: Coach Ric Macci

One of the most influential forces in shaping the careers of Venus and Serena Williams, apart from their father, has been Ric Macci, who runs a world-famous tennis academy in Florida. Since 1980 Macci has been coaching some of the most promising young tennis players from around the world including Jennifer Capriati and Any Roddick.

In the summer of 1991, Richard Williams contacted Macci and asked him to come to Compton to meet Venus and assess her potential as a tennis player. In an interview with David Higdon of Tennis magazine, Macci recalled Williams' request and his subsequent trip to California. "I hear it all the time: 'I've got the next Jennifer [Capriati].' Richard said he'd like to meet me but the only thing he could promise me was that I wouldn't get shot. All I could think of was: 'Who is this guy?'" Upon his arrival in Compton, Macci was driven by Williams to the local municipal park where Venus and sister Serena practiced tennis under their father's guidance. "There must have been 30 guys there already playing basketball and another 20 lying on the grass passed out."

After playing a few games with Venus, Macci remained unimpressed. But then, as he told Higdon, Venus asked "to go to the bathroom and as she walks out the gate, she walks at least 10 yards on her hands. Then she went into these backward cartwheels for another 10 yards. I'm watching this and the first thing I thought was: 'I've got a female Michael Jordan on my hands.'" Soon thereafter Venus and Serena, who had moved with their family to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, began training at Macci's academy in Delray Beach. The academy has since been relocated to nearby Pompano Beach.

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Famous Sports StarsTennisVenus Williams Biography - Compton Childhood, Attends Ric Macci's Academy, Makes Her Debut At French Open, Turns Tables On Hingis - CONTACT INFORMATION