Williams Sisters Skip Indian Wells, Skip Penalty
by Sean Randall | March 12th, 2009, 12:49 am
  • 54 Comments

I was watching some NBA basketball this evening – the LA Lakers beating up on the Houston Rockets – and it got me twisting on the Williams sisters and their Indian Wells situation.

What if before tonight’s game Kobe Bryant told the coach, “Hey Phil, I want to sit this one out. Okay?” Or what if Kobe made such a request ahead of a bigger game, like a playoff tilt or their traditional Christmas day contest? “Coach Jackson, I’d really like to take this game off. I have some personal issues with LeBron James, he really talks a lot of crap to my face, insults me and my family and all. And I really don’t need such abuse on Christmas. Cool?”

Ah, no, not cool KB. If Kobe tried such an act he would be swiftly fined and likely suspended from the team for a game or two. And I would say that’s fairly true in other major team sports.

But if Kobe slapped on a skirt, pasted on that WTA patch, grabbed some graphite and joined the women’s tour, hell, he could pick and choose where he wanted to play without so much as a dirty look from the ruling body.

And that’s just what the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, proved again this week by ditching Indian Wells for an eighth consecutive time. What makes it even more stinging is the fact Venus just played Dubai then Acapulco, and she’s now resting during IW. How nice.

What an absolute slap in the fact to the WTA brass who came out late last year with their much ballyhooed rule making their four premier events mandatory. But after one event it’s clear the rule is a total farce and WTA is too scared to actually suspend top players for missing their premier stops.

Under the new law, the WTA has basically told Venus and Serena and the rest of the top women: If you dare skip one of our four mandatory premier events, you will either a) get fined up to $75k and suffer a two-week suspension; or b) we’ll make you do some “promotional activities” down the road (i.e. slap you on the wrist, maybe both wrists if you’re a real meany!).

Now unless you are Bernie Madoff, Roger Clemens or some other shamed public figure who doesn’t want to be anywhere near a microphone, you are taking option “b”, running with it and never looking back.

And that’s what Venus and Serena are going to do according to WTA spokesman Andrew Walker.

Just imagine if the Lakers had told Kobe, “Sure, Kobe, take Game 5 of the playoffs off, just be forewarned as punishment we will make you do some extra interviews during the off season.” Oh please.

Some deterrent. In reality it’s an escape clause.

Of course similar star treatment does go on in other sports, but in tennis do the top players ever get really punished for missing tournaments? Maybe a fine, maybe some lost points? Points you often can’t fully recoup, but prize money is a snap with tournaments like Dubai around.

Both the WTA and the ATP talk a big game of “the top players have to play, and they will” but often when they don’t very little gets done about it. And the game suffers, the tournaments suffer and it’s going to continue until one of the tours steps up and takes a hard line against these types of player withdrawals. Wishful thinking I guess. As always, the players run the asylum.

On the Williams IW saga, I will say the girls are wrong for skipping IW, the WTA is wrong for being gutless (again, see their Dubai wrist slap!) and the tournament is stuck in the middle as usual, just trying to get by on an incomplete product. That said, kudos to the ATP guys for all showing up in the desert and for proving again that the men lead the way in pro tennis.


Also Check Out:
Poll: Should Rafael Nadal Skip Indian Wells And/Or Miami?
Nadal Already Out Of Indian Wells And Miami? Spanish Press Says So
Venus Williams Wins Acapulco; Skipping Indian Wells Up Next
Rafael Nadal Could Skip Cincinnati, Roger Federer Might Miss Montreal
Rafael Nadal Says See You At Indian Wells [Video]

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54 Comments for Williams Sisters Skip Indian Wells, Skip Penalty

Sean Connery Says:

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Moneypenny


claddaghtennisx Says:

By their shameful stance in Dubai last month, the Williams sisters attenuate their claims on our sympathies for their frightening experience in Indian Wells (it must have been unnerving for young girls, although whether it was racist is unlikely. What sports fans DON’T boo when the game they showed up for is canceled at the last minute?) In Dubai, offered the rare opportunity to stand up for fairness by simply refusing to play when their Jewish friend and colleague was barred, instead they took the money and made mewling statements of sympathy – exactly what the racists in Dubai needed them to do. Their behavior was especially disappointing because the sisters certainly have experienced racism during their careers (although their father’s nonsense is best ignored). Also disappointing that as Americans they passed up the chance to show the non-Americans on the tour what America stands for. They seem to understand the power of their celebrity and talent in matters like Indian Wells, but in Dubai they pretended powerlessness. “I’m just a tennis player, what can I do? We have responsibilities to our sponsors.” (!) If the other women had refused to play, Dubai would have folded and laid out a red carpet for the Jewish player. Cheers for Andy Roddick for being the ONLY play to skip Dubai and say why (the men’s ATP deserves no more praise than the WTA). And also the Tennis Channel for doing the same.


Delores Says:

Good article Sean, but I do think that you


jane Says:

There shouldn’t be a choice; option A should be the only option. I don’t care if the Williams sisters boycott IW from now until kingdom come, but they should have to pay, and they should be suspended from at least 1 tournament thereafter.


Delores Says:

Good article Sean. But I do think that you are wrong. I completely understand your point of view, but Venus and Serena’s stance on this issue is correct. I have attended the Indian Wells tournament, and some writers want us to believe that the sisters are not missed, but they are. Fans around the grounds do talk about them often, and debate of their returning. During one of the qualifying matches; this lady and I were talking about it, and she said part of the reason that this issue is still ongoing, is due to the fact that the tournament and the powers at be did not step in during the match to calm the fans down, or make any concessions are true apologies to the family. From what she said, only the Pacific Life (former sponsor) reached out to the family and offered true genuine apologies with this ordeal. Sometimes I feel like people want to say that the Williams family have handled this situation all wrong, but I think the tournament is to blame as well.

And your comparison of Kobe’s playoff game to Indian Wells is a bit odd. Considering that the tournament is not a Grand Slam; so it isn’t like they are asking to sit out on one of the big six (Grand Slams plus Miami, and the Year-end Championships).


tenisbebe Says:

Delores says:
“some writers want us to believe that the sisters are not missed, but they are.”

I guess it depends with whom you speak – twice I’ve attended since said incident & have friends that live there & attend annually. The fans I spoke to said they do not miss the Wms sisters – the sponsors do. I myself have never been a big fan of the WTA so absolutely do not “miss” them.

“Sometimes I feel like people want to say that the Williams family have handled this situation all wrong, but I think the tournament is to blame as well.”

I agree, the tournament did not handle this well. I do not know if the powers that be were allowing their displeasure with Venus’ late w/d & ongoing difficulties of dealing with Richard to color their judgment when it came to crowd control. In the tournaments’ own interests, they should have apologize (not that I think it would have done any good) & not taken an “told you so” attitude.

“Considering that the tournament is not a Grand Slam; so it isn’t like they are asking to sit out on one of the big six (Grand Slams plus Miami, and the Year-end Championships).”

I’m sorry???? Indian Wells IS on par with Miami (& much more important than the YE WTA Championship imo, which is a joke). IW is one of the best attended tournaments on the planet outside of the USO.


anonymous Says:

claddaghtennisx:

As much as Dubai was wrong, in many, many ways, I don’t think you can equate or even compare what went on there with a case of racism. Many arab people (both in the middle east and beyond) see Israel as an aggressor state waging a war against their people. That doesn’t mean they should mix sports and politics. But it does mean that all the racial comparisons don’t appreciate the complexity of the situation (i.e. all the commentary that includes questions like “what if james blake were denied, etc, etc”)

To use an imperfect analogy: Calling people in Dubai racists because of what happened to Peer would be like calling Albanians bigots if they had turned away Serbian athletes while the Serbians killed Albanians in Kosovo.

Not defending Dubai or even passing judgment on Israeli foreign policy, just so sick of the simplistic outcries against ‘discrimination’.


two cents Says:

“But if Kobe slapped on a skirt, pasted on that WTA patch, grabbed some graphite and joined the women’s tour, hell, he could pick and choose where he wanted to play without so much as a dirty look from the ruling body.” I wouldn’t look at him either! And I think I’m going to have nightmares from that image!

I don’t think the Williams sisters are at fault here: I think their father is a psycho. And I feel bad for the girls.

Note the article at ESPN by Joel Drucker on “what really happened.”


MMT Says:

two cents: Richard Williams is wily, annoying, outlandish and controversial.

But he raised 2 world champions – he must know something the rest of us don’t. If he’s a psycho, then we’re all living in a great big looney bin, and he’s one of the few that have the keys to the exit.


two cents Says:

mmt: psycho is a word i use much too liberally, and i apologize for using it without clarification. but that he raised 2 world champions does not make me less nervous about him or the possible consequences on the girls of *how* he went about it. i think of (okay, please forgive me for this and please do *not* take the analogy to the full extreme b/c i can’t think of a better one) the jackson five, who were *incredible* talents, but ended up very hurt people.


MMT Says:

No offense taken, just giving the man his due credit. Mind you, I think his behavior can be quite objectionable at times, and I don’t agree with everything he says. It’s always a concern when showbiz or sports parents push their kids beyond what is healthy to do, but in R. Williams’ case, I think he’s made a very healthy balance. Venus and Serena seem to be well-adjusted adults as well as great champions.

I would recommend “Tennis Confidential” by Paul Fein as good reporting on his work with the daughters, and shows how he went out of his way to hold the sisters back from over-playing and over-exposure; this despite admitting he got daughters into tennis originally because of the money, or so the book reports.


vvx Says:

What an idiotic article.

The Williams sisters aren’t part of a team like Kobe Bryant. They are two individuals who should, in a free country, be free to pick and choose when and where they want to play and certainly be free to choose NOT to attend a racist hell-hole tournament that shamed America and refuses to apologise for it.

I personally would not want to return to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMdE-T1_d5o

Good on Venus and Serena for sticking to their guns.


I like tennis bullies Says:

what racism? the williams sisters get nothing but favoritism from wta honchos. if this were any other player they would be appropriately fined.


Von Says:

“the williams sisters get nothing but favoritism from wta honchos. if this were any other player they would be appropriately fined.”

Sadly, I have to agree. Due to their father’s shoulder chip, they are accommodated more than the other players. The WTA bend over backwards to please them.

I think the WTA should have held their ground with respect to fines being assessed to any player who does not comply with playing the mandatory tournaments. Yes, Venus and Serena have the right to choose not to play in any tournament, but if that’s their choice then they should abide by the WTA rules. It was weak of the WTA to consent to other alternatives and would have made the situation a great deal more simple had they stuck to their original ruling. Instead, they now have a situation where they have to apply the same equal treatment to all of the players. It would be disastrous for the mandatory touraments if several of the players opt out to not play in a specific tournament due to diverse reasons, then the tournament would be in jeopardy, income would be lost and the women’s tennis will slide further out into the Pacific. I don’t see how this is going to help women’s tennis — it will only destroy it further.


tuhle Says:

Tennis is not a team sport, Basketball is. The WTA is lacking stars right now, Sharapova is out and the Williams sisters are the hottest thing in women’s tennis right now. Without the Williams sisters tennis ratings will be down. Like them or not, they have done more for this sport than any other in this generation.


Sar Says:

I am glad they are not at IW. It’s better for everyone.


Giner Says:

I understand their bitterness behind what happened to them, but this a VERY long time to hold a grudge for. If they are mature adults, they should just leave it as water under the bridge and carry on. Just play IW again, and if they get booed on their return, they can boycott it for good and I’d totally support them. I’m very interested in knowing whether they would get booed upon returning as a matter of fact.


Sean Randall Says:

Of course the sisters are missed from IW, they are the biggest draw not just in women’s tennis, but in all of women’s sports. That’s a huge setback for the tournament. But I’m of the mindset that you make your stance or your protest once for one year if need, then return. We are now in year eight and it’s looking like they’ll never ever play there. I guess they are stubborn that way.

And yes, Richard Williams is a bit of a sideshow Bob, but regardless of what you think of his behavior and antics, the guy did raise and tutor two of his daughters to become two of the game’s greats. That’s pretty darn impressive.


jane Says:

I agree Giner; there is a time to forgive, forget and move on. Holding grudges is NOT healthy. Have you seen that movie!!???


Delores Says:

Call me an optimist, but I do believe before both Williams Sisters hang up their rackets, they will return to Indian Wells. At some point they will want to make peace. But as a fan of both girls; I whole heartedly respect their decision. It is without a doubt that they were wronged that day, but it would be so nice to see them play one last time. As a fan of the sport and as an attendee of Indian Wells; it would make the tournament just that much better. But firstly the tournament needs to acknowledge Serena as a former champion, by putting her poster back up along the champions walkway. Regardless of personal feelings; a champion of an event deserves to be credited. But who knows, maybe the Williams family asked them to do that.

I want to add; from what I hear, Charlie Pasarell, a close friend of Arthur Ashe, is saddened by what has happened. Maybe that is why this issue seems all too personal for comfort. Maybe both sides expected more from the other, because of that fact. Who knows, but this issue is tiring. LOL!


misspalmi109 Says:

what a poorly written, simplistic article. just garbage.


Sean Randall Says:

Here’s a financial viewpoint on this situation from the LA Times:
http://www.latimes.com/sports/printedition/la-sp-dwyre-indian-wells13-2009mar13,0,5789109.column

What the author doesn’t mention here is whatever shortfall/fine/etc the Williams sisters do incur they can approximately makeup by playing in one or two additional events.

And they’ve already done that. Instead of playing the desert in Cali, the sisters chose to play in the desert of Dubai. Given the likely hefty guarantees they received for playing Dubai, the sisters ate in to that chunk of $3 million they left on the table at IW.

I also don’t think ranking points are much of an allure for Serena/Venus. They know to finish No. 1 you have to win Slams. Good results at IW helps your cause, but most often Slam performance is the No. 1 factor in obtaining the top ranking.


MMT Says:

I think the outrage here should be directed at the WTA and its players for creating the loopholes that allow the Williams sisters to avoid penalties associated with skipping this event. Once again, the WTA has shown that it has no teeth because the players don’t give it any.

What would they do if the other players voted to eliminate the loophoes? Quit? Dare I say, most women’s tennis players would be happy at the prospect. No, they perpetuate these “alternatives” in order to avoid the consequences similarly should they find themselves in the mood to skip an event without making up an excuse.

The analagoy is crude, but the point is well taken – they should be fined for their stance, even if it is a stance on principle.


MMT Says:

Mind you, I don’t disagree with their stance. I think Serena’s treatment on that day was the result of lack of informaation on Venus’ injury, and continuing suspicion of her father’s role in their careers. I don’t believe there was any sort of fix, and never have. As such, I think the crowd were way over the top in their reaction to Serena, and never let up right through the trophy ceremony. We see her now as a mature woman who can take the heat, but back then she was a 19 year old kid who just won a top tier tournament, and didn’t deserve the reaction the crowd were giving her.

That said, if they have the right not to play, they also have the obligation to accept the consequences, and that is the purview of the WTA, in which they have in my opinion failed since the tournament became mandatory.


Von Says:

As I mentioned previously, the WTA should have held their ground with respect to fines, etc., and should NOT have supplied alternatives. The fines are inconsequential to high profile players, viz., the Williams sisters. It’s a mere pittance to them.

WTA’s compromises and alternatives is a further demonstration of the WTA’s weakness and they are now being dangled on a rope, and can’t find a way out — they’ve allowed their hands to be tied. It’s similar to a parent grounding their kid for a month only to change their stance on the matter, a few hours or days later. For the WTA to become effective again, it has to show a united front and stick to it, regardless of the consequences. Vacillating will only cause more problems thereby ensuring the prolongation of issues such as IW.

Yes the crowd’s behavior towards the Williams sisters was extremely deplorable, but on a personal level, isn’t there a point where Venus and Serena could get to and say let bygones be bygones? There are millions of innocent people in this world who have suffered very real tragedies at the hands of others, and those people have forgiven their offenders and moved on. Can’t Venus and Serena do the same?


mispalmi109 Says:

blah blah blah. MOVE ON!


tenisbebe Says:

mispalmi109:

yes, please do, move on outta here…..


TC Says:

Sean you and many of the readers must be joking to say the least. How dare you have the audacity to compare a team sport to an individual sport. And an individual confrontation KB vs LJ to a 19yr old versus a hostile crowd. By the way, even with all the adversity, Serena did win that match…DIDN’T SHE? The crowd was beyond over the top.

Sean, you said you make your stance one year and then you return. Yea, go back for more humilation…you may get lucky and one of the fans accidently sssault them. From many of the comments on this blog this audience don’t like the Williams’ anyway so why do you care if they play or not? Are you upset you won’t get another opportunity to attack them? I strongly support rules and regulations however, I would never want anyone to subject themself to a hostile environment (One that previous displayed their hostility).

To the Williams sisters, stay away from the IW and accept whatever penalty they issue…At least you’re safe. YOU’VE EARNED THE RIGHT TO BE SAFE!


Mary Says:

By imposing a suspension, the WTA screws over the sponsors, potential ticket buyers, and tournaments. Of course, when the players skip the tournaments the same happens.
The sponsors and the ticket buyers pay according, not to watch the sport of tennis, but to watch the top/most popular players.

It’s interesting that the Sisters and Sharapova both accused the WTA of making the players “sign up” to play a tournmaent, knowing full well the player had no intention of showing up at the tournament.

The LA Times article is interesting. Seeing it’s costing them, especially Serena, so much money, it kind of validates the point(to some at least) that they are holding a legit grudge.


tenisbebe Says:

Mary:

Would you post the link to the LA Times article? Muchas gracias.


tennisfan Says:

Okay I have read all of the comments and its sad that most of you are willing to ignore what happen. Serena was booed because her sister pulled out the match. She was injured. One of the sisters would have made it to the final regardless. The big point is people try to overlook that it really was racism. Just open your minds and think about this: You are the minority no matter where you go. You play in your “home field” and you get treated worst at your”home field” than anywhere else. Most of you commenting have never been in a situation like that and you will never understand what its like. I would boycott too. why put yourself in an awkward poistion if you can help. This is NOT a team sport and any player should be able to choose where they play.


embarrassed american Says:

Yet again, the Williams sisters set the perfect bad example for americans, and for young american girls who desperately need mentors and stars to look up to. I don’t care if they are talented enough to only show up and win slams. That’s great for them. But, as opposed to what Mr. Barkley once said, they are role models, whether they like it or not, and the message they send: Only play when convenient, make your own rules, only work as hard as you want to, etc. They are a perfect example of why there are very few other americans challenging for the tops spots, both in the men’s and women’s tour. Being a teacher, I see the sense of entitlement every day (what I want is most important and I deserve to feel that way!) and if this does not change, our programs, sports (and education by the way) will always be behind the rest of the world. Ever wonder why so few Americans come out of Bolliteri’s anymore? He’s not dumb. He knows that, in general obviously, American young people don’t have the stuff to work hard, even when they don’t want to. And the Williams Sisters personify this epidemic perfectly.

And don’t even get me started on how the women deserve equal pay. If they would play 3 out of 5, and their matches, the entire way through the draws, were as competive, compelling, and interesting to watch, well then sure. Oh, and by the way, they would need to show up every week, not just play the high purse events. Did anyone else notice that as soon as Venus helped to get the prize money at the slams equal to the men, her schedule dropped off worse than before? If not fine them now, the women should be made ineligible to collect the full prize money at the slams if they don’t play these other tourneys, and we’ll see if Serena decides to go act or design clothes for that fortnight instead.

The women’s game could be compelling, and I very much approve of equal pay for equal play, but if you are fighting so hard to get equal pay, how can you not be made to play the same amount?

If an athlete were to not play every time people onto them in a negative way, we would never have professional sports because children would stop playing before they made it out of high school.

Sorry for the rant. Believe it or not, I used to be a HUGE Serena fan, but when it turns out the people you look up to are selfish, playing for what seems the wrong reason, and are in no way gracious toward their other opponents, you loose faith, which has now turned to disgust.

No more bad juju. Good luck to everyone who is still in the IW draw, both men and women, and congratulations to everyone who did their job and showed up to play.


adetunjioye Says:

All I want to say is before anyone passes judgement on the Williams / Indian Wells saga, they should ask themselves “What would I do if it happened to me”.
Really, no one can ever judge fairly if they have never experienced similar scenario.

Let’s not jump to quick conclusions.
It’s better in my opinion to appeal to common sense and hope the parties involved do the right thing and bury the hatchet…..peacefully


MMT Says:

tennisfan: I’m not one to gloss over allegations of racism against anyone in sports. When Serena was racially abused in Miami in 2007, the offender was immediately removed from the facility and security was increased for her remaining matches.

I agree wholeheartedly with these measures, and disagree as wholeheartedly with any approval of racist behavior (tacit or explicit) with racism in of any kind, and particularly in sports – tennis included.

But other than Richard Williams allegations and Venus’ tepid corroboration, what evidence was there that they received racist comments and/or threats?

Since he made those allegations there has not been a single corroboration of any kind from anyone other than Venus, who herself was less than convincing when she said:

“Q: Your dad talked about racial taunts that he heard, I guess, before the final involving Serena. What were you aware of?

Venus: As far as what?

Q: What did you hear? Did you hear the same kind of thing?

Venus: I heard whatever he heard.

Q: Which was what?

Venus: I think you already know.”

Other than this, not a single person at Indian Wells on that day corroborated his claims of racism. Not even Serena or Kim Clijsters who were on court that day.

I think it’s important not to throw racism into the mix unless it is confirmed/corroborated that it played a role, otherwise we’ll all become desensitized to claims thereof, even when they are legitimate.

Furthermore, Indian Wells handled that situation poorly; Charlie Pasarell could have gotten on the PA system and asked for better behavior and he didn’t. You should argue they deserve to be boycotted just for that, and regardless the Williams sisters are free to play or not play wherever they please.

But throwing racism into the discussion, without corroboration, obfuscates the issue which was very real sense of humiliation, insecurity and vitriol they DID experience, and casts doubt on the legitimacy of this claim, which is plain to see by anyone who saw the match either live or on tv. I’m sure we’ve all had experiences many years ago that have left their mark not easily obscured by time, and this is likely the case with the Williams family. That alone is enough to merit their decision not to return.

But if they take this stand, they must accept the consequences, which the WTA have shown are absolutely nothing.


Allie Says:

Maybe you should watch the that final match Serena played at Indian Wells. She was verbally abused to the point of tears and complained multiple times to the umpire who did nothing. Yeah all the crap with her dad is a little much, but it’s just disrespectful of the event not to issue a public apology. They could have saved millions of dollars (or rather, made millions more) if they had settled the issue years ago.


Pauline Plain Says:

Was any of these players in distress? Where any of these players called racist names. Why should two young ladies be subjective to racism just to make you feel better? Get over it their are NOT COME BACK END OF. As a black person watching Serena final in Indian Wells, I felt deeply anxious that I would have been attacked. I personally don’t feel comfortable going to Indian Wells, and I was made to feel very unwelcome also. Why don’t you see it from our point view and stop being a narrow minded person.


Pauline Plain Says:

MMT
I was there and I DID HEAR THE RACIST COMMENTS.


Pauline Plain Says:

“ONLY play to skip” Never heard any players stand up for the Willims sister when their were racially abuse. Willims as far as I know have never been booed or racially abusive in Dubai. I alway felt welcome in Dubai unlike Indian Wells which IS FILL WITH RACIST REDNECKS


Danica Says:

Back to the point: as much as I respect them, the Williams sisters should be fined for refusing to play. Since “they are only tennis players and have responsibilities…” they should really know and understand the meaning behind the word “responsibility”. I am pretty sure that J. Jankovic would have been fined and suspended should she dared to just skip a tournament.
Option B is BS, sorry to say.


tenisbebe Says:

Pauline Plain Says:

“ONLY play to skip” Never heard any players stand up for the Willims sister when their were racially abuse.”

Kim Clisters dismay at the crowds reaction & her support of the boycott – look it up!


Von Says:

When will “racism” ever end? I can understand it being a huge problem some 50 years ago, but in society today where there are so many inter-racial marriages, etc., why is it still so prevalent? It’s like a cancer eating it’s way from the inside out.

Speaking of inter-racial marriages, etc., and Richard Williams’ perpetuation of the race thing, coupled with Venus and Serena’s stand at IW, isn’t there some kind of in-congruence occurring, considering Venus has a “White” boyfriend? I find it hard to understand that relationship in view of Richard’s remarks towards Tracey Austin. I wonder how Venus’ boyfriend feels about the race thing. I wish racism would end and we’d see people for what they are instead of the color of their faces — underneath we all bleed red, unless you’re Mr. Spock, who bleeds green.


mispalmi109 Says:

i’m impressed von. you’re not so bad afterall.


Von Says:

mispalmi109:

Thanks, but I didn’t know I was “bad”. I speak my mind on what I perceive things to be, and I don’t deliberatley want to hurt anyone, but if I do, it’s not intentional. At the same time, I don’t try to be hypocritical for the sake of being Ms. Congenialty. I’m either a take or leave person.


olumide fagbeja Says:

It’s really a pity that we all have to make comments about sports in the context of racism. I am a black african living in a white european country and I see racism played out daily not just among ‘whites’ to ‘blacks’ but indians to pakistanis and paistaanis to blacks. The only thing i have noticed is that most non blacks tend to feel they are better than blacks. Why? i could never understand.
I feel regarding the issue of IW that the Williams sisters reserve the right to play in any yournament they choose as I believe they have earned those rights being 2 of the best tennis ladies i history.But they have to do so within the confines of the law of the sport and accept whatever fine they get.
To us watching all these play out, we need to understand their point of views even if we had never experienced whatever they did at IW.
whether missed at IW or not peoples lives go on. The Williams sister know they can live and win without IW and if IW organisers are happy for other players to compete in the abscence of the W sisters then its all good. There are really no losers unless some people are not happy with the arrangement. and whoever is not happy will have to reach out to the other to solve the issue whether its the sisters or the tournament organisers.
Simple really.


Lynn Says:

In 2001Indian Wells made it very clear they didn’t want the Williams sister there. The Waa’s focus should be on the idiots down in Indian Wells which is not on the same level as Wimbledon or the US, French, and Australian opens. They are not being stubborn for not wanting to play in a mob like atmosphere. I would be concerned for my safety but I guess they are supposed to be use to this sort of treatment so just deal with it. Girls just send them a check for 2-5 million in advance since it is obvious they just want the money they feel they are missing out on when they skip this venue. Indian Wells and the WTA get over it you cannot force them to play for an ignorant crowd and not even provide them with the proper protection. As a native of California I am embarrassed that such a savvy crowd as Indian Wells behaved this way. Indian Wells made it clear they did not want them there so what is the problem. Why don’t the WTA and Indian Wells just get over it? If they knew then what they know now about Venus and Serena’s abilities (to bring in the money) maybe they wouldn’t have shown their true colors by acting (like on stage) more civilized. Simon stated he has never had to grovel for an athlete to play at a venue. No other tennis players have experience what Venus and Serena experienced at Indian Wells. They do not want Simon to grovel. Obviously they do not “feel good” about playing there anymore so now they are forced to pay. They can afford it Ididn’t realize the WTA and Indian Wells was so desparate to fine and forces players to show up.


Touskin Says:

Its so amazing that the sport writers are literally supporting the WTA against the William sisters. You know why? Because theres nothing to write on the sport pages about IW without the William sisters LOL. They are the only reasons why i watch women tennis just like Tiger Woods is the only reason why i watch Men Golf lol.

Even Tiger Woods always pick and chooses which tornaments he wants to go to and which one he doesnt want to attend. At the end of the year, he plays the least number of tournament, wins the most and makes the most money LOL…in most cases. Everyone have whinned about Tiger Woods and everyone will whin about the William sisters, but IW will never even be the same without the Willams.

Even when Dubai was not broadcasted on TV, i had to watch it online LOL…thats what fans do when they follow champions…The top players in women tennis at this point are all JOKES lol…they cant even maintain any winning streaks LOL. Serena and Venus crushed them all so far. Even the finalist at IW was happy they are not playing. Reminds me very much of Men Golf players and Tiger Woods LOL LOL LOL


Touskin Says:

One last point…GET OVER IT FOLKS. The Williams dont care about money or ranking lol.

Like a common saying, “if you dont stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Imposing fines and deducting ranking points were not the best way to approach this matter.

If anyone had thought they would force them to play by doing that, i would have told the person or persons that they are IDIOTS lol. So far, the TOUR have proved to be whiners, IDIOTS and power grabbers LOL…Go WILLIAMS Go


TennisFan Says:

Comparing basketball to tennis is where this article faltered from the beginning. They’re two completely different sports with different dynamics.

In tennis, essentially the players decide their fate by practicing as much as they want, investing as much money as they want or can into themselves, playing where they want (for the most part), and making as much money as they want (depending on talent level, how much they want to practice, how much they want to play, and what events).

In basketball, the salary is set, the players are obligated to play 82 games + playoffs – they don’t have a say. They have to work hard or risk not getting court time or getting traded or demoted to a lower league or not getting your contract picked up.

Where are Serena and Venus gonna get traded to if they don’t play a tournament? Will the WTA sit them out in the next major? LOL. As you see, speaking of tennis in a basketball context is kind of ridiculous.

Being a tennis player is like being a salesperson – the harder you work and the better you are, the more money you theoretically should make. Being a basketball player is like working a regular 9-5 job: you clock in, you clock out, certain things are expected of you, and if you don’t deliver, you will face consequences.

The fact is: the Sisters felt they were wronged. And, like any one with an ounce of pride and dignity, they don’t want to kiss the ass of a tournament and crowd that they felt disrespected them in 2001. I think the fines are fair. The majority of tennis players can’t afford such a blow – it just so happens that the Williams Sisters can. Sorry Indian Wells – should have been more respectful in the first place.


SDTennis Says:

I have been going to Indian Wells for about 15 years now, and I do not miss them one bit….And NO… I am not a racist. I just don’t like them, just like I did not like Connors in the old days.


tenisbebe Says:

Lynn says: “No other tennis players have experience what Venus and Serena experienced at Indian Wells.”

Yes, but no other players pulled that BS of pretending to have an injury to avoid playing someone – which they had done time & time again – but notice they haven’t pulled that crap since IW? Gee, I wonder why? Could be they figured out (or rather Richard did) that the PAYING public was not going to put up with their games anymore – particularly not after having paid a minimum of $100 per ticket and saw NOTHING. I for one will never spend a red cent on a ticket for one of their matches or any WTA match for that matter – good riddance!


WTAbetteroffwithouthem Says:

If they were smart, they would play the tournament, and use the opportunity to show that they are above the issue, and use the platform to set a better life example. Instead, they just fuel the fire, and the people that scarred them for life and did the orginal harrassment get to have a huge victory party every year.

And the tournament is not hurt by them skipping it, the ones who are hurt are the ever-dimishing number of fans for the sisters who loose yet another opportunity to see them play.

Touskin Says:
“Its so amazing that the sport writers are literally supporting the WTA against the William sisters. You know why?…”

Yes, I do-because the Williams sisters broke the new rules and need to be held accountable, and should enough class to realize it, period.

Every time someone says that the Williams are the only reason they follow the WTA, it just adds to their already inflated ego, adding to the bad example they continue to set.

And “tenisbebe” hit it on the head. If this was the only tourney in the year they missed, folks might excuse them for a fortnight, and might believe that S & V have a legit reason. But, this is just one of the many non-slams they choose not to play, but they feel if they use that particular card for the excuse, it would be politically incorrect for anyone else to question them. They need to get over their-selves, act mature, be bigger than the problem, and play.


Touskin Says:

WTAbetteroffwithoutthem says “Every time someone says that the Williams are the only reason they follow the WTA, it just adds to their already inflated ego, adding to the bad example they continue to set.”

LOL i dont care what their ego is and what your problems are. I will not watch WTA without the William sisters…did you see those sisters yesterday at Miami…they are the only 2 remaining in the top 7…you know why? cos everyone else is a joke Lol.

I watch Golf due to Tiger Woods and i am not the only person cos im sure you are aware of the fall in ratings. Even the Bay Hill had a rating that was the highest since US Open that Tiger Woods played in and won. I was even told everyone on WALL Street was watching the US Open on Monday when Tiger Woods was playing…isnt that glorious?

I cant wait for the Williams to pick up Miami again and wish everyone else a good booh bye.

For all the IW fans, get over it…dont be a sour loser…we know who lost already and its not the Williams, they are adored everywhere in the world including Dubai lol. I cant help it, i am mesmerized


dennis Says:

I think that the organizers of the indian wells are dumb. I mean they haven’t done anything to resolve what happened there, i mean just to make the situation. They have blamed the crowd for everything. I mean take responsibilty and make a public apology for what happened. i think it hurts the william sisters more is because it is there own homeland and they get booed.

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