Title: Hitting Coach
Favorite Karaoke Song: None … yet
The longest-standing member of Team Venus is former tennis pro turned coach David Witt. The Florida native grew up on tennis courts and was a highly decorated junior player who was ranked number one in the world before becoming a professional in 1991. Witt fought his way up the rankings and broke into the top 100, when he returned a ball at the 1994 Wimbledon and felt something pop in his wrist. He underwent surgery two days after returning home from Europe, but his range of motion was limited and the pain was constant.
“After so many years, it was tough to make that decision to stop,” says Witt. “Tennis is what I love to do and what I know, but at some point it comes to an end.”
You can take the man out of tennis, but you can’t take tennis out of the man. Witt became a director at two different tennis clubs in Jacksonville, Florida and was in high demand as a coach. One day, Witt received a call from Venus’ agent asking him if he could work out Venus and Serena before the Amelia Island pro women’s tournament that was held annually near Jacksonville. Witt became the partner of choice for the Williams sisters ever year for that tourney. After three years, he approached the family about joining the team full-time, and the rest is highly successful history.
Many fans often wonder why a world-class athlete even needs a coach. If you’re the best player in the world, what can someone else tell you? The fact is, professional sports are more complicated than most people realize, and the stakes are incredibly high. Everyone athlete can use an extra set of expert eyes on them.
“I am with Venus all the time. I help her get ready for matches. I tell her how I think she should play the opponent before she goes out. After the matches, I get the statistics and I circle what I think is important,” says Witt
When he is not in Europe, Australia, or Los Angeles with Team Venus, Witt likes to be at home in Florida where he can watch the baseball games and dance concerts of his four children.