“The Williams Method”, a big lie in the film with Will Smith?


Arantxa Sanchez doesn’t like the way her match against Venus Williams is presented in 1994.

The film “The Williams Method” caused a lot of talk about him at the last Oscars, with the award obtained by Will Smith for his role as Richard Williams (the father of Venus and Serena Williams), and of course the slap in the face in mondovision inflicted on Chris Rock by the actor of Men In Black. Beyond this huge controversy, there is another controversy in Spain about one of the scenes of the film, the meeting between Venus Williams and Arantxa Sanchez in Oakland in 1994.

At 14, the eldest of the Williams is playing her first professional tournament. After a victory against the 57th player in the world, Shaun Stafford (6-3, 6-4), the very young Venus finds herself confronted with one of the stars of the circuit, the Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. She won the first set 6-2, then led 3-1 in the second set. The match changed in the second set, after a “toilet break” from the Spaniard. The dynamic of Venus Williams is stopped, and the American loses, yielding the last 11 games of the game (2-6, 6-3, 6-0).

“It’s Hollywood”

Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario gave his version of the facts on the Cadena Ser. “When I faced Venus Williams in 1994, I was world number 2, seeded number 1 in the tournament. It was the Oakland tournament, it was not played outside, it was indoors, and it was played in November, at the end of the season, before the Masters in New York. It was on a hard and super fast court, not like in the movie. »

The triple winner of Roland-Garros denounces a fictionalized or even misleading version on the part of “The Williams Method”. “It’s impossible that I left the field at 3-1, because you can never leave after an even number of games (she left at 2-3, editor’s note). Also, time is limited when you go to the locker room. I would have been penalized if I had stayed longer. The thing is that it gives importance to the film. There is no other way for the film to be relevant. It’s true that I lost the first set 6-2 but then I won 11 games in a row and that says it all. I ended up winning the tournament in both singles and doubles and that was when I was at the peak of my career. The previous year, I had been world No. 1. But the movie wouldn’t have been so dramatic if they hadn’t done it that way. It’s Hollywood. »

“Venus would have had time to go to dinner”

Yet it is difficult to say that everything was invited. In the article that Tennis.com devotes to this encounter, it is written that Arantxa Sanchez took a 10-minute bathroom break in the middle of the second set, which is very long. Williams’ coach at the time, Richard Macci, even said in his biography that “Venus would have had time to go to dinner” while his opponent had exited the court.

The Spaniard regrets being presented like a very bad person”but she “recommend the movie, because it’s an epic movie that talks about the notion of effort”. “I have a good relationship with Richard Williamsshe adds. When her two daughters were on the circuit, everyone was talking about Venus. I said to her, ‘The one who is going to be really good and who is going to earn more is going to be Serena’. I saw them play and I knew Serena was going to be better than Venus, I know them both, I’ve faced them many times. » We can even say that she knew them very early…


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