Miami - Venus Williams hinted on Monday that she might follow her top-ranked sister Serena Williams back to the Indian Wells Masters and end her boycott of the tournament that began in 2001.
Venus Williams stayed home earlier this month as her younger sister returned to the California desert venue where the sisters were booed 14 years ago after Serena was awarded a walkover semi-final victory over Venus.
A day later, Serena came out for the final and beat Kim Clijsters but was taunted by the crowd in an ugly moment which the family felt was related to racism. The sisters vowed never to return and stayed away until Serena's entry a fortnight ago, saying it was time to forgive and move on.
Serena Williams received great applause and a warm reception but was forced out because of a knee injury before being able to play in the Indian Wells quarter-finals.
With her sister's return a major success, Venus Williams looks as if she might be willing to let go of past grudges as well.
"It was wonderful to see," Venus Williams said of Serena's Indian Wells return. "I definitely watched every moment and it was great to see her and my family there.
"Next year will be a big year for us being an Olympic year. I can't exactly say what my schedule will be, but it was wonderful to see her reception."
Williams added that she might soften her own stance in the wake of her sister's groundbreaking move.
"Absolutely," Venus said. "I have heard so much about how much the tournament has just improved in general in terms of the fans and the players. So it will be something to see for me."
Venus said that she had not mentioned her possible change of heart to Serena, saying the pair never speak of tennis.
"I think really what Serena did and how she went about it was just awesome for me as a big sister to see, because I feel like usually I'm the big sister. I feel like in this instance she took the role of big sister," Venus Williams said.
"It was really nice. I love how we continue to protect each other no matter what. She did a fantastic job out there, even though she wasn't feeling her best. So like I said, I think the tournament is amazing."
But, Venus noted, her main concern next year will be the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The 2000 Olympic singles champion will seek a fourth Olympic doubles crown with Serena, having taken past titles in 2000, 2008 and 2012.
The quest to be fit and in form for Rio will play a major role in deciding where and when she plays next year.
"Next year is an Olympic year, so my whole focus is on trying to get to the Olympics. I don't know what tournaments I'm going to play as long as I'm at the Olympics," Venus Williams said.
"That's my goal, to be healthy enough. So I think it would be awesome to return, but I don't know what my schedule is next year. It's going to be all around that."