Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas renamed the tennis courts at East Rancho Dominguez Park after two of the sports’ greatest athletes, Venus and Serena Williams, who played there as children.
“East Rancho Dominguez builds champions and we have this community to thank for that,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said at a dedication ceremony attended by both sisters. “Now, we honor two of this park’s most esteemed, successful and inspiring alums, Venus and Serena Williams, who are role models for the youth of this community.”
“We are really excited to be here,” said Serena, who with 22 Grand Slam titles is considered one of the best tennis players of all time. “We definitely want to see some more champions come from these courts.”
“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,” said Venus, who has seven Grand Slam titles.
Venus and Serena were toddlers when their family moved to Compton in the early 1980s. Both started playing tennis soon thereafter, coached by their parents, Richard and Oracene. They considered the tennis courts at East Rancho Dominguez Park, formerly East Compton Park, as their “home court” until they moved to Florida in the early 1990s to further their athletic careers.
In September 2015, the East Rancho Dominguez Neighborhood Association, then led by Sinetta Farley, launched the campaign to rename the tennis courts after the Williams sisters. “East Rancho Dominguez Park has a youth tennis team that plays on the court. Now they have role models that they can identify with,” Farley said after the dedication ceremony.
LA County Department of Parks and Recreation Director John Wicker added, “The Williams’ sisters are such an inspiration. With hard work, dedication and perseverance, they have shown that you can reach your dreams. We are so honored they started their successful careers with practices at one of our LA County parks.”