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Haunting signs from inside Serena Williams’ crumbling childhood home show how she and Venus were groomed to stardom

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PHOTOGRAPHS of abandoned signs in Serena Williams’ crumbling childhood home have shown how she and Venus were groomed to stardom by their father.

Former coach Richard Williams was embroiled in a long legal battle with his estranged wife, Lakeisha Graham, over the house for several years.

Richard Williams fights to save his former property in West Palm Beach1 credit
Abandoned garden furniture is seen on the patio of the old family home

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Abandoned garden furniture is seen on the patio of the old family homeCredit: The US Sun
Richard with his daughters Venus, left, and Serena 1991 in Compton, CA

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Richard with his daughters Venus, left, and Serena 1991 in Compton, CACredit: Getty

She allegedly forged her signature on the Florida home’s mortgage deeds to transfer the property to her name before borrowing $255,000 from “hard lender” David Simon.

The US Sun has obtained exclusive photographs of the dilapidated house, including signs showing Richard’s messages to the girls.

One reads, “Serena, you gotta learn to listen,” while another encourages, “Venus when you fail, you fail alone.”

A third says, “Serena, you need to learn how to use more topspin on the ball,” while a fourth adds, “Venus, you need to take control of your future.

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Richard Williams was just a king in his head…he left me and my family

Serena and Venus Williams’ stepmother has suffered a major setback in her plans to hold on to their childhood home as a judge ordered her to pay huge legal fees to her main creditor.

Simon accused her of repeatedly failing to follow a repayment plan because she spent every dollar on “fast food and frivolities,” according to court documents.

A state court judge ordered that the home be auctioned off to pay off the debt, which totaled $512,213, including interest.

But that has since risen to more than $600,000 as Simon has incurred more legal costs since that verdict 18 months ago and the original debt has racked up even more interest.

TRIAL VOID

To save the four-bed house in Palm Beach Gardens, the 44-year-old tried three times to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy – the first two were rejected, while the third is playing out in US bankruptcy court .

A frustrated Simon and his legal team, DGIM Law, filed a claim for additional legal fees and expenses of $38,340, which was disputed by Lakeisha, who called it “dishonest” and “unreasonable.”

Still, Judge Mindy Mora sided with Simon and awarded him attorneys’ fees and expenses totaling $23,130, or 60% of what his team was seeking.

Now, the next round of this fierce fight is due in court on February 2.

If Lakeisha fails with his latest bankruptcy offer, the house will be sold and Simon will take the lion’s share of the proceeds.

The property is worth around $1.4 million, but it has fallen into such disrepair that it is only worth half that figure.

Frail Richard, 80, said in a recent interview with The US Sun that he was not giving up his legal battle to save him.

RICHARD’S BATTLE

This is despite a judge recently tossing out his case against his estranged wife, as he wanted the financial proceeds from the sale to go to Simon.

Although his lawsuit was dismissed, Richard and his family are not giving up on getting the property back. His son Chavoita LeSane said they are now looking for new legal counsel.

Ailing Richard, who has had several strokes and some communication problems, said the house was “beautiful” when he lived there with Serena, Venus and their mother Oracene, his second wife, buying it in 1995 for 355 $000.

“The house is easily worth a million dollars,” he insisted.

“The ten acres of land is amazing,” said Richard, explaining that he would love to demolish the house and build a new property, adding, “I don’t need the past anymore if I keep [focusing] about the past, I won’t do much.”

But he admitted: “I don’t know if I’ll get it back or not. I don’t know if I can or not.”

Chavoita admitted that Serena and her sister aren’t too interested in what happens to their old home, but made sure he was taken care of amid the toxic situation with his ex.

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The US Sun previously revealed that Richard is now living in a new home in West Palm Beach, owned by Serena, who paid $815,000 for the one-story property in June 2015.

The location is perfect for Richard’s reported fragile condition – all on one floor, with four bedrooms, five bathrooms and over 4,160 square feet of room.

The roof of the empty house in West Palm Beach, Florida is also damaged

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The roof of the empty house in West Palm Beach, Florida is also damagedCredit: The US Sun
The sisters learned from their eccentric father how to become great tennis players

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The sisters learned from their eccentric father how to become great tennis playersCredit: AFP

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