Serena Williams back to Indian Well tournament after 14 years
More than a decade ago, Serena Williams endured hash treatment and racial abuse during a tournament which she pledged never to return to. At the age of 19 she won the second Indian Wells title after beating Belgian Kim Clijsters. The tournament was marred with inappropriate behavior after Serena and her family were taunted by fans, in response to her sister Venus withdrawing due to an injury. She and Venus were set to meet in the final game in 2001.
"It's been difficult to forget spending hours crying in the Indian Wells locker room," the 33 year old said.
Serena made confirmation of her return to Indian Wells tournament during an interview with Time magazine. "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 I play for the love of the game," she said. "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."
The world no. 1 says the motivation factor for her return is the spirit of forgiveness. "I have thought about going back to Indian Wells many times over my career," Serena said. "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."
The tournament CEO Raymond Moore has welcomed Serena’s decision. "We really look forward to watching her compete again," he said.
The tournament is on March 11 - 22.