Two years ago, Richard and Fred Williams noticed four brothers hanging around the tennis shop at Rancho Cienega Sports Complex. As the managers of the shop, they remembered the boys from National Junior Tennis League clinics, which were held at the courts. After six weeks of instruction, the boys were still interested in the sport and just kept showing up at the tennis courts, since they lived a couple blocks away.
The Williams brothers are always looking for talented children to put in the program at the park, and these kids were perfect. James White, 15, along with his brothers Joshua, 12, Rayshawn, 10, and Titus Pittman, 8, have been fine-tuning their tennis skills under the tutelage of the Williams brothers for the past two years.
James recently graduated from Audubon Middle School, and he may be the best tennis player at Dorsey High School as soon as he steps on campus in the fall, says Fred. Joshua also attends Audubon, and Rayshawn and Titus attend Coliseum Elementary School.
With school out for the summer, the boys are at the tennis courts everyday. They show up in the morning for training, and stick around to continue playing well into the afternoon. They have played in a number of tournaments.
Richard trains the boys for the most part, and his brother, Fred, sees the potential in these kids, and he raves about Titus.
“He learned how to serve a sliced serve all by himself,” Fred said. “That's hard to do for older people. We were teaching his older brothers, then we looked up and he was serving a sliced serve. We asked where he learned that. He said from watching us teaching his brothers. This is stuff that you don't get his age.”
Titus is always in motion, and is constantly running around with a tennis racket in his hand, says the Williams brothers.
“He just keeps on coming, and he never gets tired,” Fred said. “I don't know how he does it. But he never sits down. We run him through drills, and he just never gets tired. That's the making of a good player.”
While tennis keeps the brothers occupied now, their coaches definitely see the sport as paving their to a bigger future, such as college.
“There is no doubt in my mind that these kids will get college scholarships,” Fred said. “It's almost 100 percent certain.”
The Williams brothers make sure that the brothers are doing well in school so that they will be able to qualify for college scholarships, when the time comes. They also surround the young brothers with college graduates, which shows them an example of what they can grow up to be.
Many of the volunteers with the Rancho program learned the game from the Williams brothers, and were able to make it into college playing the sport. For these young brothers, being around educated tennis players seems to be leading them down the right path.
The future appears bright for these young men. With the guidance of the Williams brothers, who also helped Venus and Serena Williams become stars, these youngster are expected to do some really big things.