Serena Williams returns to Indian Wells after 14 years
After defeating Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open, Serena Williams has decided to make a comeback at Indian Wells. She has decided to end her Indian Wells boycott as a mark of forgiveness against the racial abuse 14 years ago. Serena and her family were jeered by the crowd. The World number one is set to make her return to the Indian Wells tournament as she stated in an exclusive interview with TIME magazine.
It was the final at BNP Paribas open and 19-year old Williams was up against Kim Clijsters. Serena outsmarted Clijsters and won the Indian Wells tournament for the second time. But some members of the crowd made racial calls towards Serena and her family. Accusations were made that Venus had faked her injury and withdrawn from semi-final for Serena. Since then, Serena had vowed to never play at Indian Wells again, but here she is making a comeback.
Serena said, ”When I was booed at Indian Wells, by what seemed like the whole world, my voice of doubt became real. I didn’t understand what was going on in that moment. But worse, I had no desire to even win. It happened very quickly.”
She continued, ”As I walked out onto the court, the crowd immediately started jeering and booing. In my last match, the semi-finals, I was set to play my sister, but Venus had tendinitis and had to pull out. Apparently that angered many fans.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.”
Return To Indian Wells:
Serena spoke about her decision and the reason behind it. She said, ”Thirteen years and a lifetime in tennis later, things feel different. A few months ago, when Russian official Shamil Tarpischev made racist and sexist remarks about Venus and me, the WTA and USTA immediately condemned him. It reminded me how far the sport has come, and how far I’ve come too.”
She added. ”There are some who say I should never go back. There are others who say I should’ve returned years ago. I understand both perspectives very well and wrestled with them for a long time. I’m just following my heart on this one.”
”I’m fortunate to be at a point in my career where I have nothing to prove. 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.”