From small town to red carpet


By Meladi Brewer

GREENVILLE — Greenville native and legendary Hall of Fame coach, Rick Macci, will be walking the red carpet in November.

Macci is a Greenville native who has had a successful tennis career both as a player and a coach. He has coached many legendary players such as Tommy Ho, Jennifer Capriata, and the Williams sisters — Venus and Serena.

In November, he will be walking the red carpet for the premier of King Richard starring Will Smith as Richard Williams and Jon Bernthal as Macci.

“It’s a feel-good story. To come from nowhere with all the struggles to get where you’re going and prevail at the end of the day,” Macci said.

Macci goes on to talk about his experience with the Williams after Richard Williams contacted him about coaching Venus.

“The Williams’ came a long way, so it’s no surprise they are making a movie,” Macci said. “They went from Compton to Florida. I started coaching Venus in 1994, so this is going to be a great experience.”

Similar to the Williams, Macci came from a small town in the north before moving to Florida with a dream when he was around 23 years old. Growing up on Harmon Drive in Greenville is the reason Macci got into tennis.

“I grew up in the park. Even when it was cold, my mom would turn the lights on behind the school, so I could practice. I just love the sound of hitting the ball and the sound of the game,” Macci said.

Macci stated he still has the passion, drive, and midwest values he did while playing that he utilizes in his coaching.

“I’m still the same person and have the same drive. I believe it comes across in my teaching,” Macci said.

When referencing the movie portraying him alongside Will Smith, Macci said it’s a bizarre, but amazing feeling.

“Obviously [the movie] the icing on the cake,” Macci said. “You don’t think something like that would ever happen.”

Having a successful career already makes this movie even more special for Macci, as he has five number-one ranked World Champions, 322 National Championships, he’s a seven-time USPTA Coach of the Year, and has eight Grand Slam Champions and counting. The movie truly is the icing on the cake.

“I’ve been fortunate, but at the end of the day, I’m still the same guy from Greenville, Ohio,” Macci said.

The movie will air in theaters beginning Nov. 19. For more information about Rick Macci or to watch the trailer visit

To contact Daily Advocate reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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