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Venus and Serena Williams in attendance as Will Smith wins Oscar for portraying their father in “King Richard”

Tennis was at the centre stage on Oscar night as Venus and Serena Williams were in attendance when Will Smith won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of their father, Richard Williams

Venus Williams, left, and Serena Williams arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Venus Williams, left, and Serena Williams arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)/

Tennis took centre stage on Oscar night on Sunday in Los Angeles as Venus and Serena Williams were in attendance with Will Smith winning the Best Actor in a Leading Role award for his portrayal of their father, Richard Williams, in the movie ‘King Richard’.

Will Smith had been a heavy favorite for winning the Oscar since the film was released late last year, in which he portrays Richard Williams, who raised two of his daughters in the ghettos of Compton and turned them into world-class tennis champions without any prior exposure of the game.

Even as the controversy around the Will Smith and Chris Rock altercation in the earlier part of the show threatened to overcome the proceedings, Smith gave a moving speech while accepting the award, thanking the sisters and the entire Williams family for letting him share their story.

Venus and Serena Williams were also presenters on the show

Venus and Serena Williams were also presenters at the Oscars as they introduced pop star Beyonce, who performed ‘Be Alive’, her Oscar-nominated track from ‘King Richard’ live on the show, from the very courts that Venus and Serena were raised on.

The Williams sisters have not been in action on the tennis tour in 2022, with Serena Williams not having played since her injury-related retirement in the first round at Wimbledon, while Venus last playing a match in Chicago, prior to the US Open, last August

While both the sisters have stated they plan to comeback, there is no definite schedule for their return. As a result of their inactivity, both have dropped out of the top 200 in the world rankings.

40-year-old Serena Williams is ranked No 240 in the world while 41-year-old Venus is ranked 466th. The sisters have won a combined 30 Grand Slam singles titles (23 for Serena and 7 for Venus) and also teamed up to win 14 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles to become global icons in the world of tennis and outside of it.

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