Venus Williams on the Importance of Family, ‘King Richard’ and the Other Game That’s a Part of Her Life

Image: Laura Metzler Photography

Grand-Slam champion, Olympic Gold medalist and entrepreneur Venus Williams is lending a hand to celebrate UNO special anniversary and its first-ever official UNO Championship Series Invitational Tournament, powered by Mobil 1, which took place on Nov. 11. The four-color card game company is making a donation of hundreds of card packs to The Yetunde Price Resource Center in Compton, California, where Venus lived as a child. The organization works to ensure that victims of direct or indirect senseless violence have complete access to existing resources. Named after her older sister who tragically lost her life, the resource center “is invaluable for the community, and it remained active over the pandemic as well,” Venus shares. “It’s really helping to develop the community, to help them process trauma and also to move forward.

The card game is a memorable part of Venus’ childhood. “We played as a family. It was really one of the only card games we played,” the mega-fan shares with EBONY. “Our whole goal was to just save all the wild cards—throw them back to back to back to change the color.” 

She admits that she and her sisters didn’t really have a strategy for the game back in her childhood days. “Serena was the youngest, so all she wanted to do is win,” she recalls with a laugh. Playing UNO is a tradition she also plans to pass down to her four-year-old niece Alexis. “This is a good game because she can participate in it and also learn the values of winning and losing it gracefully,” she says.

Family has always been a priority for Venus, who is revealing her path toward greatness in the new Oscar buzz-worthy film King Richard. Will Smith stars in the pivotal role of the sibling tennis champions’ devoted dad, who she says taught his daughters everything. “How to be a champion—I think that’s lesson number one,” Venus declares. “This is a movie about families and how a family can come together to achieve great things together. I think anyone can relate to that.”

Her father is also represented in Venus’ upcoming EleVen fashion collection, launching Nov. 16. “It’s a representation of my dad,” she reveals. “The nostalgia of that ‘80s and ‘90s period, we’re recreating that. Since we’re a women’s collection, I wanted to capture the strength of a father and the role that he plays in his daughters’ lives. I’m excited about it coming out.”

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