Last Update 22:17
Friday, 15 November 2019

Tennis: Serena says 'right time' to end Indian Wells boycott

Reuters , Friday 13 Mar 2015
Serena Williams of the U.S.
Serena Williams of the U.S. (Photo: AP)
Views: 695
Views: 695

Serena Williams said on Thursday her decision to end a 14-year boycott of the BNP Paribas Open after suffering racist abuse in the 2001 final came down to "timing."

Williams had skipped the showpiece event at the desert resort after winning her second title here by beating Kim Clijsters in a final marred by the behaviour of some spectators who booed and heckled the American and her family.

The reaction was in apparent response to Serena's sister Venus having withdrawn from their semi-final that year just minutes before the match.

"The whole point of me coming back was not to necessarily focus on what happened 14 years ago," world number one Williams, 33, told a packed news conference at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

"It was more or less to focus on how I felt, if it was the right opportunity for me to come back now and for me to be at this tournament. I just felt like it was time.

"There's not one thing that says I should come back, that I should come back in 2015. I just felt like it was the right time for me to come back here and try to do the best that I could."

Spectators vented their displeasure with the withdrawal of Venus during the 2001 final, booing Serena and jeering her sister and father Richard Williams when the pair arrived to watch the match.

Richard Williams alleged he had heard racist taunts, and Serena said she was "nervous" when speaking to her father about her possible return.

"He's been through some things when he was growing up," said the 19-times grand slam singles champion. "It was a really emotional time for me when I was talking to him.

"I was like, 'I think I should go back, but I'm not going to go back if you don't want me to.' He said it would be a big mistake if I didn't go back. I thought that was really admirable."

Serena, who plays her opening match at Indian Wells on Friday, also succumbed to nerves when she told her mother about her plans to return to the venue.

"When I was done with my whole story, she said, 'I'll be there for you. Whatever you need, I'm going to be there for you.' I was a little shocked," said Serena. "I don't know why because she has always been so supportive."

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.