Venus Williams has penned a lengthy piece for The Players’ Tribune explaining her decision to return to Indian Wells after a 15-year absence.
The tournament, a joint ATP-WTA event staged in the Californian desert from 7-20 March 2016, is one of the biggest and most prestigious outside of the four Grand Slams.
Williams’ younger sister Serena returned to the tournament last year for the first time in 14 years, after what WTA Insider described as “an ugly incident (in 2001) that left both sisters, who were still in the nascent stages of their careers at the time, feeling profoundly unwelcome in a sport they loved.”
Wrote Venus: “I didn’t think that playing Indian Wells again was something I’d ever do.
“I remember my quarterfinal match, against Elena Dementieva, like it was yesterday: 6–0, 6–3, a really good win over a really good player. I remember the pain of my knee injury, and how badly I wanted to play in the semis against Serena — before finally accepting that I wouldn’t be able to. I remember the accusations toward me and my sister and our father. I remember the crowd’s reaction, as I walked to my seat, during Serena’s match in the final. And I remember how I couldn’t understand why thousands of people would be acting this way — to a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old, trying their best.
“Not feeling welcome somewhere is a hard memory to let go of — at any age. At 20? It’s almost impossible. And so that’s what I did. I held onto it.
“But then I saw Serena.”
To read the full story visit The Players’ Tribune.
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