Following the premiere of Will Smith’s King Richard, some fans are confused as to whether the coach and father to tennis superstars is still alive?

Oscar season is just around the corner and Will Smith is already manoeuvering himself to the front of the queue.

Smith’s latest blockbuster hit, King Richard, premiered this week in theatres around the world, telling the story of Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Serena and Venus.

However, whilst there are countless fans of King Richard sharing their opinions on social media, there are a few reports concerning the man in question’s health; is he still alive?

King Richard | Official Trailer

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King Richard | Official Trailer
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Is Richard Williams still alive?

Yes, Richard Dove Williams Jr, father to Venus and Serena Williams, is alive but is in poor health, as reported by the New York Post.

The 79-year-old suffered a major stroke in 2016 and has unfortunately, suffered a series of later strokes as well. Williams also developed a neurological condition that is impacting his ability to speak, revealed in court papers relating to a 2019 case against his former wife, Lakeisha.

Following the premiere of King Richard on November 19th, there had been a series of misunderstandings on social media, with many fans confused as to whether Williams was alive.

It appears that these rumours first started in response to several posts relating the movie as a form of ‘tribute’ – suggesting that Williams had passed away.

Thankfully, users were quick to correct any interpretation that Williams has died, including SNY News Anchor Chris Williamson, who tweeted simply “Richard Williams is still alive btw.”

Richard Williams is currently under the care of his son, Chavoita Lesane.

1992: Serena Williams and her sister Venus Williams ride with their father Richard Williams at a tennis camp in Florida. Mandatory Credit: Ken Levine /Allsport

Fans praise Will Smith as King Richard

Whilst the story told in King Richard is incredible, fans and critics have paid particular attention to the acting on display…especially towards Will Smith as the lead role.

“Smith is excellent, fully inhabiting the character in one of the only roles to date that has required him to fully shed his habitual gloss of Will Smith charm.” – The Guardian.

A similar sentiment was echoed by other media outlets, with Vulture explaining Smith has “brought his own poetic physicality to the part”, whilst Marca predicts that there will be an Oscar award nomination on the cards!

“Will Smith does a terrific job encompassing the character of Richard Williams. From the accent, tone, mannerisms, and outrages justified outburst. It is clear to see Smith’s brilliant range in another delightful film.” – Letterboxd.

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Broken glass on the court?

No one can doubt Richard Williams’ dedication to his plan for Tennis superstardom, but a recent revelation from a former coach reveals the extent to which the training drills went.

Rick Macci, played by John Bernthal in King Richard, told The Sun that there would be broken glass placed around the edges of the court during training.

Elaborating on Williams’ plan for both Serena and Venus, Macci said that “the one thing I knew Venus and Serena had is they’d run over broken glass to get a ball.”

“There were a few times Richard put broken glass on the court. The glass was behind the baseline, back by the fence, so they wouldn’t back up and take the ball early.” – The Sun.

Photo by Paul Harris/Online USA

By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]

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