Serena and Venus Williams have emphasised the importance of young tennis stars Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka for the future of the sport.
The Williams sisters are both icons of the game and have won 30 Grand Slam singles titles between them.
Their journey to tennis stardom has been documented in a new biopic titled “King Richard”, focusing on the instrumental role of their father in their upbringing.
The film, which stars Will Smith as the title role, reveals the struggles both players were forced to overcome growing up and Richard Williams’ role in helping his daughters ‘break barriers’.
Speaking to BBC 5 Live, Venus and Serena addressed whether the players of today, including the likes Raducanu and Osaka, have been forced to contend with the same barriers they faced.
“I don’t know if we know their lives, but they’re achieving great things. We’re very happy for them and they’re great for tennis.”
Indeed, both Raducanu and Osaka have become global stars and have been subject to widespread media attention.
The British teenager made history when she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title at the US Open in September and has risen more than 300 places in the world rankings this year.
Osaka, meanwhile, claimed her fourth major title at the Australian Open at the beginning of 2021 but has suffered with mental health problems for much of this season. Following her third-round defeat at Flushing Meadows, the Japanese star announced she was taking an indefinite break from tennis, though she has teased a return in recent days.
While both Williams sisters are now in their 40s, the two are still competing on the WTA tour, albeit less frequently.
Venus is currently ranked 172nd but made a record-breaking 90th Grand Slam appearance at Wimbledon this year.
Serena is also aiming to make history by equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24 major wins. The former world number one has 23 Slam wins at the moment and will get another opportunity to tie Court’s tally at the Australian Open next year.