Tennis Legends Were Honored and Brought Hope to Their Hometown
Venus and Serena Williams returned to their hometown Saturday, Novemeber 12 to have the Lueders Park tennis courts dedicated in their honor.
They have not visited Compton since the 2003 murder of their half-sister.
The sisters were welcomed by fans and their community when they arrived at Lueders Park, not far from their childhood home. The park's tennis courts were once run down and were rarely used, and the gates remained locked for safety reasons, but during the ceremony, they were open, as banners hung in the four corners of the two newly refurbished courts proclaiming them the 'Venus and Serena Williams Court of Champions.'
Through a generous grant from Gatorade, the previously run-down and little-used courts at Lueders Park are now fenced with lighting and will now host three tennis camps and clinics.
"We are really excited to be here," Serena said. "Driving here brought back so many memories. We definitely want to see some more champions come from these courts."
During the tennis courts dedication, hundreds gathered as the Compton Sounders drill team and drum squad performed for them on the court.
"It's been a surreal experience to be back in this way," said Venus. She then added, "To have the tennis court refurbished, to make sure that there's coaching available, to make sure that these programs go on and to make sure that this sport stays here in our community, it's a big part of bringing us all up and creating positivity for young people."
Venus and Serena have not only provided a place for future champions but, through the Williams Sisters Fund, they are opening the Yetunde Price Resource Center in Compton for residents who have been touched by violence with service providers. The center is named after their eldest sister who was killed by senseless gun violence. The Yetunde Price Resource Center will serve as a powerful tool by developing a customized plan and function as a direct connection with partnering agencies for efficient services and is set to open early next year.
The sisters said they wanted to see something positive come out of their tragedy.
Following the tennis court dedication, the Williams’ headed to Compton Mayor Aja Brown’s Healthy Compton Festival at the MLK Transit Center Plaza. The festival educated, empowered, and equipped Compton residents to lead healthier lives through the experience of healthy outcomes.
The festival provided free health screenings, cooking demos, healthy food trucks, sports clinics and giveaways. Also, The Williams sisters participated in a group Community Dance Class led by Brutez (Ruki & Fever).
The day was filled with positive energy, hope, and fun. The Williams sisters proved that no matter where you're from, your color or gender, to never let anything interfere with your talent and abilities, and to help your community.