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Without a doubt Venus and Serena Williams are two of the most important women in the world of tennis to date. And coming to theaters on May 10, audiences will get an up close and personal look at their lives in the documentary “Venus and Serena.”

As Douglas Robson of USA Today writes, “It would have been a tough sell in Hollywood: an eccentric father with no tennis background somehow plotting and predicting that his two youngest daughters, African American sisters just 15 months apart, would rise from the Southern California ghetto and sit atop the once lily-White tennis world.

Perhaps Venus and Serena Williams have been so good for so long we forget how they got here. But what is arguably the greatest story in modern sports will soon be retold for a mass audience.”

The documentary is described as an intimate documentary that takes us inside the lives of these tennis superstars during a year when debilitating injuries and life-threatening illness threatened to take them out of the game once and for all.

Set against the 2011 and 2012 tennis seasons, directors Maiken Baird and Michelle Major attain a privileged intimacy with the sisters, and their inner circle of family members, trainers and friends, as they fight to get back on top. Venus says, “That was a tough year for us because we both got injuries, and so many issues. So seeing that is just motivating to see how much we’ve overcome and to make us stronger.”

The family reflects back on their history of breaking barriers and defying odds. The film doesn’t shy away from inquiring into delicate and sometimes controversial areas of the sisters’ personal and professional lives.

Baird and Major interview other longtime observers of the Williams sisters–including John McEnroe, Chris Rock, President Bill Clinton, Anna Wintour and Gay Talese–who bring fresh perspectives on what Venus and Serena have achieved both on and off the tennis court. Whatever opinion you hold of the Williams sisters, you’ll come away with a deeper appreciation of what drives them to greatness.

Prophesied to be great by their father, raised against all the odds in a sport where they were ready to be shunned, the Williams sisters faced their aggressors with otherworldly regalia that allowed them to usher in a new wave for female and African American athletes everywhere.

More than anything, the film shows just how close of a relationship Venus and Serena have and how important that relationship has been in molding each into the tennis player and woman they are today.

Serena has always joked that she always wanted what Venus had, and that included wins, titles and Slams, but you realize quickly that Serena wasn’t kidding.

“I was never the one that was supposed to be good,” Serena said. “I was never the one that was supposed to be a great player. But I was determined not to be a statistic. So that was the only reason I played tennis. I was a copycat, basically.”

Through sheer domination, the Williams sisters have conquered the world of sports, tennis, fashion, and entertainment for well over a decade, and there looks to be no end in sight. You can get a deeper look at Venus and Serena’s lives in this newly released 3-minute featurette:…. The first three minutes of the documentary grabs you with telling photos, interviews and a behind-the-scenes look at the production.

Visit for more information. On Wednesday, May 10, you can purchase tickets at an AMC Theaters near you. Check your local listings.

Gail can be reached at