After 14 Years, Serena Williams Announces She Will Return To Indian Wells!
by Tom Gainey | February 4th, 2015, 8:48 am

In a first person story to Time Magazine, Serena Williams announced that she will return to the Indian Wells event this March.

Serena and her sister, Venus, were booed when they last played in 2001, and since vowed never to return. But the younger Williams wrote why she has now changed her mind.

I have thought about going back to Indian Wells many times over my career. I said a few times that I would never play there again. And believe me, I meant it. I admit it scared me. What if I walked onto the court and the entire crowd booed me? The nightmare would start all over.

It has been difficult for me to forget spending hours crying in the Indian Wells locker room after winning in 2001, driving back to Los Angeles feeling as if I had lost the biggest game ever—not a mere tennis game but a bigger fight for equality. Emotionally it seemed easier to stay away. 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.

Serena was just 19 at the time.

2015 will be Serena’s fourth trip to the Indian Wells event. The 2-time champion there has a 14-1 record at the event winning the title in her last appearance in 2001 and also in 1999 when she beat Steffi Graf.

This was the scene just before the start of the 2001 Indian Wells final.

As a world No. 1 and one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet and with roots in nearby Los Angeles, Serena will be a massive draw for the women’s event and a boost for owner Larry Ellison.

Venus, however, hasn’t announced her intention on playing the tournament.

Indian Wells begins March 11.

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8 Comments for After 14 Years, Serena Williams Announces She Will Return To Indian Wells!

RZ Says:

Good for Serena. I hope the crowd treats her well.

jane Says:

i assume the crowd will be fine. lots of time has passed. Says:

Absolutely insane to watch, inexplicable. I have never heard such booing before a match, and against an American, and a teenager at that. Quite disgusting. Not hard to understand why Serena can have a chip on her shoulder.

But what really struck me is: she played there in ’99! And beat GRAF!
She’s gone through Graf, Clijsters, Davenport, Capriatti, Hingis, Henin, Mauresmo, Safina, Jankovic, Wozniacki, and 16 years after that she’s still #1!
What an athlete!

rogerafa Says:

I am not her fan but she continues to amaze me. What an unbelievable player! A true one-off!

RZ Says:

@TV – and as some have pointed out, some of her contemporaries (Davenport, Mauresmo, and Hingis) are now coaching while Serena marches on.

brando Says:

Good on Serena but it’s interesting: she’s a black player who gets booed like that by her home crowd, she’s looking to garner support (major props to her for that) for those who get mistreated by the law who happen to be in that video …….. Black. And when you switch on the TV you hear of the police violence against …… Blacks. 2015 and the still hearing unfortunate, ridiculous, backward stories from America. From a country that likes to portray itself has the one leading the way for humanity. Sure you are with such stories of what’s going on domestically. Not her fan: but I hope she wins the event and gets some serious applause from her home crowd.

Yolita Says:

I have many faves in the WTA: Vika, Petra, Simona, Ana, Garbiñe, etc. But recently I have found myself rooting for Serena more and more strongly.
She is an amzing athlete and she gets treated unfairly, even now.
I remember last year just before the USO, commentators saying that the USO could be historic: both Serena and Roger could win their 18th Grand Slam. Well…Serena won it, but Roger was out, s0 the hype died down.
She’s got now 34 GS titles: 19 singles, 13 doubles and two mixed doubles… Can you imagine the hype if it was Federer with those achievements?
So I want her to win more and more, until they have to give her her due… More or less the same as Novak.
I have a soft spot for players treated unfairly. :-)
Go Serena.
May this be the Nolerena year! :-)

Why Did Serena Williams Return To Indian Wells? Says:

[…] why has Serena Williams decided to return to Indian Wells this year? ESPNW’s Howard Bryant offers his answer in a new story […]

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