Venus says 'Serena paved the way' for Indian Wells return

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) Venus Williams says ''Serena paved the way'' for her to return to the WTA tournament in Indian Wells, 15 years after the older sister's last appearance.

Venus hasn't been back to the event in the desert since 2001, when she withdrew, citing a knee injury, 20 minutes before she was scheduled to face Serena in the semifinals. Serena, then 19, was booed throughout the final. Their father, Richard Williams, later said he heard racial taunts from the crowd.

Both sisters vowed never to return. But Serena ended her boycott last season, entering the BNP Paribas Open for the first time in 14 years. Now Venus, a seven-time major champion, is going back, too. She explains her reasoning in an essay posted Tuesday on the Players' Tribune website.

The tournament begins next week.



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