Venus Williams to play at Indian Wells for first time since 2001

Venus Williams will play at Indian Wells for the first time since 2001.
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Venus Williams will play this year at Indian Wells for the first time since 2001, the WTA announced Wednesday.

“We are thrilled that Venus Williams, one of the greatest women’s players in the history of the game, is returning to play in the BNP Paribas Open,” tournament CEO Raymond Moore said. “Our fans embraced Serena last year, and we expect nothing less for Venus when she returns to compete at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.”

Both Williams and her younger sister Serena had previously boycotted playing in the tournament since 2001 before Serena’s return to Indian Wells last year.

As a 19-year-old in the tournament, Serena was heavily booed during the final match, in the wake of Venus withdrawing 20 minutes before the start of their semifinal match the day before due to injury. Serena and her father both reported hearing racial slurs from the crowd. 

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In her 2015 return, Serena was forced to withdraw from the tournament before the semifinals due to a knee injury.

Along with Venus and Serena, other big names in this year’s field for the BNP Paribas Open include defending champion Simona Halep, world No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza, 2014 finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, 2006 and 2013 champion Maria Sharapova, two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber and Lucie Safarova.