Sister Katrina, It’s Time To Do the Right Thing Regarding Richard Williams and Oracene Price

5 min readSep 15, 2023


Dear Sister Katrina,

I trust all is well with you and your family. I can’t believe it is nearly eight years since we last communicated. How time flies. Considering your high profile, you must have exchanged emails with thousands of people, so you might not remember our last email exchange. If this is the case, let me jog your memory.

In September 2015, I went to the US Open to watch Serena Williams play Roberta Vinci. On the day, I wore a t-shirt with the inscription “Serena Rocks Racists Suck” to highlight the racism that Serena had faced throughout her career. As I passed through security, the officials prevented me from entering because they were concerned with the inscription on my t-shirt, which they considered offensive. After some back and forth, I was eventually allowed to enter. In response, I wrote a letter expressing my disappointment and urging the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to monitor, address and punish instances of racism in tennis. In your reply, you noted that you investigated the matter and that the officials followed due process. I then wrote back urging you to use your position as head of the USTA to ace out racism in tennis. Well, I am compelled to write you another letter eight years later. This open letter urges you to use your position to help get Richard Williams and Oracene Price inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHOF).

Without a doubt, you are a trailblazer for tennis, and you are a pride to the black race. The evidence speaks for itself. The first black Chairperson, CEO and President of the USTA, Vice President of the International Tennis Federation, former Board member of the Women’s Tennis Association, winner of the 2003 WTA Althea Gibson Achievement Award and the first black Board member of the ITHOF. Since you are in the inner caucus of the ITHOF, you must be aware of our campaign to get Richard Williams and Oracene Price inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame. You must also be mindful of ITHOF’s attempt to frustrate our plan by consistently changing the rules.

I am aware of your admiration for the Williams family and how you have spoken of Richard Williams and Oracene Price’s greatness. I watched Stuart McClave’s recent documentary, On the Line: The Richard Williams Story, and was impressed at how you spoke glowingly about Williams and Price. You noted that Oracene Price does not get her dues and that she is unbelievable. You also said Richard Williams is one the greatest coaches of all time. During an interview with in February 2021, you said, “No one has really honoured Richard Williams or Oracene Price for their prowess, their determination, their confidence.”

As a board member of an organization that honors people contributing to tennis, now is the perfect opportunity to recognize the achievements of Williams and Price. Sister Katrina, you are in this position for a time like this. In my prior letter to you, I wrote, “As the first African American to head the USTA, you have two responsibilities, i.e. a dejure responsibility and a de facto responsibility. Your de jure responsibilities include but are not limited to communicating the USTA vision, overseeing the USTA operations, advising the Board, and engaging with corporate sponsors. However, your de facto responsibility, which is not spelt out in your contract of employment, is your duty to the people of colour in a predominately white organization and predominately white sports.” This dual responsibility remains today regarding your roles as a Board member of the ITHOF and Chairperson of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Enshrinee Nominating Committee. You could use your de facto responsibility to make the case for Williams and Price’s inclusion into the Hall of Fame.

I appreciate that you are only one member of a larger board, but there is nothing to fear except fear itself. When groupthink is entrenched in an institution and a sport that has yet to shake off its legacy of racism, it calls on people like you to break the mould. I urge you to be bold; after all, did you not make Forbes Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Sports List? Sister Katrina, you are uniquely positioned to be the lone black voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Justice delayed for Williams and Price is justice denied.” You could also remind your colleagues not to let history repeat itself, as was the case for Dr. Robert Johnson, the godfather of black tennis and the only black contributor in the Hall of Fame. You could remind them that the ITHOF delayed Dr Robert Johnson’s induction by almost 40 years after he died in 1971 instead of honouring him when he was alive. If your colleagues accuse you of being conflicted, you could tell them you are not related to Williams and Price and that if things are based solely on merit, they should have been inducted years ago.

However, Sister Katrina, I am concerned that you may take the path of least resistance by not putting pressure on your colleagues. I say this because, during the On The Line: The Richard Williams Story premiere at the Tribeca Festival, which took place at the SVA Theater, you claimed that we did not nominate Richard Williams and Oracene Price because their nomination was not approved. This is shocking, especially as details of our nomination are available in the public domain, and we even wrote a petition on the back of the nomination (which you told the media that you saw). I find it strange that, on the one hand, you sing Williams and Price’s praise while, on the other, you justify why they are not in the Hall of Fame. It would be much appreciated if you could explain why you think that Williams and Price were not nominated or why the nomination was not approved. You could also shed some light on why the goalpost keeps being shifted anytime we submit a nomination for Williams and Price.

Sister Katrina, I implore you to see your elevation to the summit of tennis aristocracy as a commission to right a long-standing wrong against our people. In your book, Own the Arena, you wrote about making a difference — now is the time to be true to what thine has written on paper by doing the right thing. As I wrap up, how do you want historians to record your tenure as a Board member of the ITHOF and Chairperson of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee? Would you like to be seen as the woman who used her influence to finally honor Richard Williams and Oracene Price, or would you like to be seen as a token who used her influence to justify the status quo and exclude Williams and Price from the Hall of Fame?


Your brother

Ahmed Olayinka Sule, CFA


September 2023