Serena Williams’ dad used flashlight in strange training method

Serena Williams’ former coach, Rick Macci, has fondly recalled coaching the tennis phenom as a youngster. Macci coached both Serena and Venus Williams when they were young girls after they moved from Compton to West Palm Beach in 1991.

The Williams family relocated to Florida when Serena was nine, so that she and Venus could both receive training from Macci. The tennis coach is widely known for training other renowned players such as Andy Roddick, Jennifer Capriati and Maria Sharapova.

The 68-year old is a United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Master Professional and a seven-time USPTA National Coach of the Year. Macci was inducted into the USPTA Hall of Fame in October 2017, becoming the 19th professional and the youngest person ever to receive the honour.

He recently looked back on the time he coached Serena in the early hours of the morning, with no lights illuminating the dark court. He recalled how Williams’ father, Richard, would shine a flashlight in his daughter’s eyes while she was hitting volleys.

Taking to Twitter, he recalled: “First lesson with ten-year-old Serena Williams at Grenelefe Resort 1991 – no lights 5am pitch dark, Richard gets a flashlight and keeps turning it on/off in Serena eyes while we hit volleys! At the end of the day, a winner finds a way!”

In 1995, Richard took over coaching duties entirely, ceasing to send his daughters to the academy. Macci was instrumental in helping the Williams sisters hone their skills and develop their talents, setting them on the path to becoming two of the most successful tennis players of all time.

The movie King Richard chronicles the extraordinary lengths taken by Williams and Macci to train the sisters and transform them into world-renowned champions.

While Macci’s role was included in the film, the tennis coach was dissatisfied that he had not been consulted by the film producers. He expressed his displeasure, citing that he felt his input could have been beneficial to the production.

He said: “I didn’t know how the movie was gonna go even when I talked to the producers, cause see, I was not consulted on the movie.

“I wasn’t involved. I should have been, it would have been even better. I got more stories than anybody and no one can tell a story, especially about Venus and Serena.”

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