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Richard Williams fails as a dad at Wimbledon

HOWIE EVANS AmNews Sports Editor | 7/1/2011, 1:45 a.m.
Richard Williams fails as a dad at Wimbledon

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SERENA WILLIAMS USA WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIPS 2011 WIMBLEDON LAWN TENNIS CLUB, WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND 23 June 2011 DIC9921 WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIPS 2011 WIMBLEDON, LONDON, ENGLAND 23/06/2011

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Richard Williams fails as a dad at Wimbledon

When they needed him the most at Wimbledon, Richard Williams was not there for his daughters Venus and Serena. At a time when they needed a shoulder to cry on, Richard lambasted them. It was a time he, as a dad, should have been so very proud of them.

Both lost in the fourth round, closing down their route to a family finals championship at one of the most storied tennis courts in the world. It's the reason Venus and Serena elected to play, though both physically were not 100 percent. Dad knew it, but this was Wimbledon: formalities to a bone, white attire only.

Venus and Serena had been dominating the courts at the All England Club, sharing nine championships--Venus five and Serena back-to-back ladies championships in 2009-2010. The world knew they were not at full strength physically, but they sho-nuff tried and gave it their all. Then Richard refused to give them his shoulder, publicly lashing out at them instead, throwing them under that proverbial bus when he should have offered them his shoulder.

They shouldn't have played, he said. They shouldn't play the U.S. Open in September, he also growled. He carried on about their technique, noting how they were hurting physically, but so what?! Play on.

On and on he went.

The tennis world has it both ways. There is no love for the Williams at Wimbledon, but yet they love the media attention the young women bring to the tournament. They're glowing over Richard's verbal attack on his daughters, but we must all remember, it was Richard and his former wife, Oracene, who nurtured the sisters and protected them from outside influences. They refused to permit their daughters to spend their childhood traveling around the world playing junior tennis. They gave them a life other than tennis.

Richard purchased tennis instruction books to teach them the game, and then wisely passed them on when they needed professional guidance to up their game. He has spent hours on practice courts around the world and still does on. Yes! It's because of Richard's love Venus and Serena are who they are in the world of tennis. Nevertheless, Richard forgot one thing this past week at Wimbledon. He forgot to provide a shoulder for his daughters to cry on when they needed him the most.