In November of 1992, Trans World Sport, a weekly sports-related television program, did a feature on future tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams and their father, Richard.

The girls, aged 11 and 12, had recently moved to Florida with their family from crime-stricken Compton, CA to pursue their tennis careers more seriously. It was here that Richard enrolled his daughters in the Rick Macci Tennis Academy.

When interviewed, Richard admitted to knowing nothing about tennis before 1980, when he caught the end of a match on television and watched Romanian-born Virginia Ruzici receive a check for winning a tournament in Salt Lake City.

“They were giving this lady $40,000 because she won the tournament, and I figured since I worked with $52,000 all year, and this girl made $40,000 in four days, that I was in the wrong business,” Richard said in that 1992 interview.

Before they turned 5, Serena and Venus began playing the sport that they would eventually dominate professionally. The sisters have become two of the most highly-regarded players in history after making their professional debuts at the age of 14. They have gone on to win a combined 30 Grand Slams, 23 of them coming from Serena.

When interviewed for the 1992 feature, the academy founder, Macci, predicted an event that has happened a total of nine times in Serena’s and Venus’ playing careers.

“I think the day will come that both kids might play each other in the finals of a Grand Slam. Both of them have the capabilities to be top five in world […] Richard is very fortunate. It’s lucky to get one in the family, but he has two and both of the girls have that ability,” said Macci.

On Jan. 28 of this year, millions tuned in to witness one of the fiercest rival matches in sports history, as Serena and Venus faced off for the 2017 Australian Open title. Fans cheered for their favorite sister, with one notable exception.  Implications of siding with one daughter aside, Richard knew it was unnecessary—the return on his investment of time and money for the years that he coached his daughters had  already been realized, regardless of the match’s result. .

His daughters’ story, familiar to many, is one tied to  the realization that sport is truly an investment in a promising future for a child. While a typical investment is strictly monetary, one of this nature includes the hours he and the sisters spent perfecting their game and the countless other sacrifices made by those involved in the process.

The decision to have Serena and Venus play tennis was made without the guarantee of fame or success. The volatility and unpredictability of a child realizing their dream of making a living playing their sport matches that of stock investment. The more time and energy the girls and their father put into pursuing careers in tennis, the higher their stake in an uncertain outcome.

In the end, Serena won the match, and she returned to her familiar spot atop the Women’s Tennis Association standings, ten above Venus. As of 2016, the Williams sisters have an estimated combined net worth of $205 million, a figure unthinkable to a family living in Compton 25 years ago.

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