‘King Richard’ star Will Smith visits Chicago, opens up about career mentors

Dean's List

CHICAGO — There was some A-list activity in Chicago Wednesday night.

One of the biggest box office movie stars on the planet visited XS Tennis and Education Foundation in Washington Park to promote his new film, “King Richard,” a biopic about Serena and Venus Williams’ father’s role in their rise to tennis stardom.

“I’ve been really blessed to have a whole lot of Richard Williams-type appear in my life,” Smith said. “My father, mother and grandmother were firmly behind me for the things that I’ve always dreamed of wanting to do in my life.”

In the movie, Smith plays Richard Williams, the father of the Williams sisters, who motivated, inspired, pushed and advocated for his daughters to take them to the top of the world of tennis.    

It all made sense that the red carpet event would take place at the new XS Tennis and Education Foundation on the South Side — a beautiful facility with indoor and outdoor courts that Smith, along with Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, toured the facility and met some of the young players.   

Smith gave a speech about reaching for the stars and achieving your goals. On the red carpet, he echoed some of those feelings with WGN’s Dean Richards.   

Warner Bros. Pictures along with the USTA Foundation and private donors awarded six scholarships to future tennis superstars Wednesday night.

“King Richard” opens a week from Friday.   

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