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SerenasMelons
Jul 11th, 2002, 08:18 AM
By Richard Pagliaro
07/10/2002

Concerned he was being bugged by the FBI, Richard Williams conducted meetings in a car wash where he planned the professional path his daughters would follow. The eccentric driving force behind Venus and Serena's Grand Slam success has been characterized as one of the most controversial coaches in women's tennis.


Now, the Williams sisters former hitting partner has come clean about his experiences working with the world's top two players and their father.

In his newly-published book Venus & Serena, My Seven Years As Hitting Coach For the Williams Sisters, Dave Rineberg reveals a firsthand account of the development of the most successful sisters in sports and the role their father played in their rise to supremacy. Rineberg served as the Williams sisters hitting coach from 1992-99 when he was relieved of his duties after agreeing to become available for media interviews.

While Richard Williams was widely criticized for restricting and ultimately terminating his daughters' junior careers, Rineberg says Williams' strategy has paid off with Venus and Serena's present professional prominence. The former hitting partner also credits Mr. Williams for preventing potential burnout by alternating the sisters' training sessions with sustained sabbaticals from tennis.

"His whole plan of pulling the girls and not letting them play junior tennis, that they were only going to train for the pros, that was a great plan," Rineberg told USA Today writer Tom Weir in an interview published in the paper today. "He was also really good about pulling them off the court for five weeks at a time and saying 'We're going to Disney World.' He let them have a pretty normal childhood. They weren't burning out."

While Rineberg credits Richard Williams for masterminding his daughters' rise, he reveals Richard's occasionally bizarre behavior was apparent from their first meeting conducted in a Florida car wash where Mr. Williams insisted he was forced to take precautions to prevent his conversations from being bugged.

"He said, 'Dave, I hope you don't mind, but this is to drown out our voices. Everybody wants to know what my next move is, even the FBI'," Rineberg recalls.

The Williams sisters have met in three of the last four Grand Slam finals with Serena scoring successive wins over Venus to capture the French Open and Wimbledon. Rineberg suggests Serena's recent success is based on the superior variety in her game, but he believes Venus' edge in mental toughness and pure power will ultimately ensure she prevails in her matches with Serena. Venus has won five of her nine matches against Serena, but Serena has won three straight against her older sister.

"I think Serena could be the stronger player in the short term, but I don't think so in the long term," Rineberg told Weir. "I think Venus has the stronger head. Serena has more variety to her game, but I think Venus is the biggest hitter."

The man whose rallies with the sisters spanned seven years said their love for each other will prevent them from developing a real rivalry.

"I think the fire of really wanting to knock each other's brains out just isn't there," Rineberg said. "They love each other way too much."

Eric_tennis
Jul 11th, 2002, 08:27 AM
Interesting article.

LOL@Meeting in a car wash & FBI

I don't know the whole thing, but I'm sure that Serena has variety, Venus has stronger head.
Who knows which girl turns out to be a champion over the other. They're still developing, I guess.

Good luck to Venus & Serena.
:D

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Jul 11th, 2002, 12:26 PM
That sounds right about Richard ;)

Eric_tennis
Jul 12th, 2002, 12:54 AM
Anyway, who is their hitting coach or trainer?

Nowadays they are doing very well without injuries. (I thought they're injury-prone,..but they're NOT now with the same hard hitting game :eek: )

So, maybe they are hiring a good trainer or hitting coach these days.