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Serena Williams is finally getting her own movie – but there’s an upsetting twist

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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The story of one of the world’s greatest athletes will be told in a film, but it’s not what you think.

Let’s talk numbers for a second.

31. That’s how many times Serena Williams has been in a grand slam final. 23 is the number of times she’s won. 7 of those times it was against Venus, her own sister. Venus herself has 7 grand slam titles to her name. Together, as doubles partners, the pair hold 14 grand slams. They remain undefeated in tennis doubles finals.

The Williams sisters are two of the most formidable female athletes in sport, women who are frequently named not only two of the greatest female tennis players of all time but the greatest tennis players. Period.

Serena and Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2016

News that their story might be the subject of a film is cause for excitement. But the news that that movie is going to focus on their father, rather than on them, is not.

Variety reports that King Richard, a biopic of Serena and Venus’ father Richard Williams is in the works with Will Smith set to star. The film will tell Richard’s story as a man from a poor family in Compton with no tennis background whatsoever who saw a game being played on the television and decided that his daughters Venus and Serena would become tennis champions. From the ages of four and three, Richard took his daughters to public tennis courts in Los Angeles, coaching them in the game himself. The rest, as they say, is history.

It’s a truly inspiring story of triumph and predestined greatness, and there’s no doubt that Richard played an integral role in his daughters’ many successes. But wouldn’t you rather see a movie about Venus and Serena Williams told from their perspective, and not their father’s? 

Richard Williams at Wimbledon

In this movie, we’d see two actresses taking on the roles of the formidable athletes to tell a story of power, triumph and strength. Can’t you see Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira as the two sisters?

And wouldn’t you rather see that movie first, and then one about their father?

Richard’s story should be told. 

But if you ask us, it should be told after the story of his daughters’ many successes is shared on screen.

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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