For over a decade the BNP Paribas Open has been denied two of the greatest American tennis players, Serena and Venus Williams. And while Serena had initially expressed a desire to return to the event in 2014, she has now rescinded that plan, citing the back injury that limited her in the Australian Open.
The Williams’ sisters boycott of the tournament stems from an incident that occurred at the 2001 BNP Paribas Open, when they were set to play each other in the semifinal. Right before the highly anticipated match, Venus pulled out with an injury, and the fans took to booing Serena throughout the duration of the tournament and into the final, which she won. Surrounded by negativity, and the overriding feeling amongst fans was that the sisters simply didn’t want to play against one another, their father then cited racist abuse by the fans, and they have yet to return…
While neither sister has returned to Indian Wells, in the face of ignoring this mandatory WTA event, there was hope that Serena was set to come back this year, as she had put her name on the entry list. However, her recent withdrawal (citing her back injury) now appears to be yet another slap in the face of this tournament, especially as she is set to compete in next week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. It seems as if the Williams’ sisters may never return to this special tennis tournament.
But the BNP Paribas Open will go on, and nearly every other major tennis star will be in attendance, including Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, Victoria Azarenka, Li Na, and Novak Djokovic. While we are yet to see a Williams return to Indian Wells, there will still be an abundance of world class tennis on display.
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