Indian Wells - Serena Williams hopes her
sister Venus receives a warm welcome on Friday when she tries to bury the
hatchet with Indian Wells fans by ending her 15-year boycott of the WTA Tour
"We had that one memory and we both
want to get rid of that," world number one Serena on Thursday.
In 2001, spectators at Indian Wells booed
Serena during the final and jeered her sister and father Richard Williams when
the pair arrived to watch the match. Richard Williams alleges that racist
comments were directed at them.
Serena, who ended her boycott last year,
cheered the return of her older sister as the Compton, California natives could
face each other in the quarter-finals.
Serena and Venus both play on Friday with
Venus Williams making her return during the day session, while Serena will
headline the evening session.
Venus is a former world No 1 and the first
African-American to become the top-ranked women's player in the world.
"I am really excited to be here and I
am excited for her to have the same experience I had last year," Serena
said on Thursday.
"This is where everything started for
us. Early in our careers we both played qualifying here back in 1997 or 1998.
"Last year it wasn't time for her. She
was dealing with a lot physically with her illnesses. She wanted to try to make
an effort to see what it was like."
Serena was greeted by a standing ovation
when she returned last year to stadium court last year but was forced to
withdraw from her semi with a knee injury, 14 years after Venus withdrew at the
"It feels like more of a normal
tournament than last year. So we are making strides," Serena said.
The top ranked player in the world and the
clear favourite here, Serena has a chance to become the first three-time winner
in women's singles at Indian Wells.
Williams hasn't played a competitive match
since her Australian Open final defeat to Angelique Kerber but is determined to
add to her 21 Grand Slam titles this season.
"I definitely expect to win the
Slams," she said. "There are hundreds of players who haven't won two
in a row or three in a row.
"It is just me and another player out
there who is expected to win every single match, every single tournament, and
every single Grand Slam."