WTA Tour

Serena ends Indian Wells boycott

2015-02-04 17:06
Serena Williams. (File, AFP)

Indian Wells - Serena Williams will end a 14-year-boycott of the Indian Wells Masters by playing the event next month, the world number one wrote in Time magazine on Wednesday.

Last weekend's Australian Open champion and her elder sister Venus have not played at the event since they were booed in 2001 in what the pair believe was a racist gesture.

Now, at age 33, Williams said she can finally forgive.

"I'm fortunate to be at a point in my career where I have nothing to prove," said the winner of a 19th grand slam singles title in Melbourne over Maria Sharapova.

"I'm still as driven as ever, but the ride is a little easier. I play for the love of the game.

"And it is with that love in mind, and a new understanding of the true meaning of forgiveness, that I will proudly return to Indian Wells in 2015."

The younger Williams was stunned in 2001 when the crowd booed her before the final, which she won in three sets over Kim Clijsters.

The incident stemmed from the semi-finals, when an injury pullout just before an all-sister match by Venus disappointed fans. When Serena came to the court for the final, she was greeted with jeers.

"Throughout my whole career, integrity has been everything to me. It is also everything and more to Venus," wrote Williams.

"The false allegations that our matches were fixed hurt, cut and ripped into us deeply. The undercurrent of racism was painful, confusing and unfair.

"In a game I loved with all my heart, at one of my most cherished tournaments, I suddenly felt unwelcome, alone and afraid."

Williams called the tournament incident " a pivotal moment of my story, and I am a part of the tournament's story as well. Together we have a chance to write a different ending."


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