A simple poll question for today: Do you agree with Venus and Serena Williams’s decision to not play at the Indian Wells tennis event?
If you don’t know the backstory with the Williams sisters and Indian Wells, here it is (thanks to ESPN and to Sean Randall for compiling this): At the 2001 event, Venus defeated Elena Dementieva to set up a semifinal clash against Serena the following night. In her post-match presser, when asked who would win Dementieva remarked it was up to their father, Richard.
The next night, just moments before the Sister showdown Venus withdraws with tendinitis in her knee. Naturally, the fans are not happy. The short notice from Venus even gave the tournament director pause who said he wished Venus had given the match a try.
The sisters deny (some would say halfheartedly deny) their father has any say in the outcome of their matches. The WTA releases a statement in support of the sisters citing no evidence exists of any match fixing.
With rumors swirling over match fixing and many fans still with a bitter taste in their mouth from Venus’s last-minute withdrawal in the semifinals, Venus (no limp, no knee wrapping) and Richard enter the stadium to watch Serena play in the finals. As they make their entrance the crowd unloads in a chorus of boos that continues throughout the match.
Serena wins the title. Immediately afterward, there were no documented reports of racism directed toward the Williams box.
A week later during a Miami press conference Venus understood the crowd’s anger when she withdrew from her semifinals.
But a few days later, a story quoted Richard Williams as saying he was called the N-word during Serena’s final. The Indian Wells tournament director also called the crowd reaction “unfair”.
At that’s the last we’ve seen of the Williams sisters at Indian Wells.
You can read more details from this excellent summary from ESPN.
The women’s tournament, which begins on Wednesday, will again be without the WTA’s two biggest stars, Venus and Serena, for a ninth consecutive year.
In my opinion, that’s been more than long enough to get their message across, they’ve made their point. It’s time to forgive, maybe forget and get back on the court. So no, I do not support their decision to keep skipping out on one of the biggest events in tennis. But that’s easy for me to say that, I’m just sitting in a chair typing on a keyboard. To me this is comfortable, it’s easy; but to the Williams sisters playing Indian Wells, for whatever the reasons, still isn’t.
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