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5-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams
When the sisters were seven years old and six years old, Richard telephoned top coach Paul Cohen to ask if he would consider coaching them.
Cohen agreed to take a look at the girls and Richard drove them to Brentwood, California to meet him.
On hitting with the sisters for the first time, Cohen was astounded by their phenomenal athletic abilities and said,
“I had never seen a six-year-old as strong as Serena and I’d never seen a potential woman champion as athletic and as graceful as Venus.”
Cohen agreed to help Richard coach them and said later,
“I wanted essentially to train two attack dogs who would intimidate every woman that stood on the other side of the net from them, and that they would literally beat the ball and pound their opponents into submission.
With Venus and Serena, we not only built their game to be perfect, we built them with the purpose of annihilating their opponents.”
A year later, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras, who had both been pupils of Cohen, visited Brentwood and watched Venus hitting with him.
Venus later got to hit with both pros and told reporters afterwards that she felt she could have beaten McEnroe if the bounces had gone her way!
On July 3, 1990, the New York Times ran an article on Venus who was the only undefeated 10-and-under player in Southern California.
Nine months later, the same paper ran a front-page story on the sisters, and spoke of the tremendous potential of Venus but dismissed the chances of younger sister Serena.
At age 10, Venus was told by her parents that she needed to concentrate on just one sport. Venus chose tennis because she believed she could become the best of all time.
When the sisters reached age 11 and age 10, Richard decided that they would play in no more junior competitions.
This was because he did not want his girls exposed to the type of competitive pressures some tennis parents were subjecting their children to.
The sisters, by this time, had attracted national attention.
Richard was offered cars, a bigger house and money from agents, including one who offered $87 million for a part in their future earnings.
However, he turned them all down and would not even allow his girls to get professional coaching. He believed he had taught them well enough.