Williams Sisters Learn Penalties for Skipping Indian Wells

Posted on March 21, 2009

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have skipped the Indian Wells event ever since 2001 when they were booed when Venus pulled from the semifinals minutes before going on court against Serena, and their father accused fans in the crowd of making racist remarks.

But for the 2009 version of the BNP Paribas Open, the new title sponsor of the Indian Wells event, there are penalties for missing the top tier of events under new WTA Tour rules.

"There will be sanctions despite the personal issues of the Williams sisters," said WTA CEO Larry Scott said.. "They will pay significant consequences."

The sisters will not lose any money directly out of pocket, but the world No. 1 Serena faces losing $300,000 from the $1.9 million year-end bonus pool for the top players, while Venus faces losing $150,000.

The WTA says the two will also have to make promotional appearances for skipping the event -- Venus at the ESPY sports awards in Los Angeles, and Serena to promote the year-end championships in Doha.

"Venus and Serena know they are welcome here and the fans would love to see them," said Indian Wells Tournament Director Steve Simon. "We would be delighted if they decide to play in future years -- if not, then they will deal with the repercussions."