January 23, 2014
LAWT Wire Services
INDIAN WELLS, Calif —Serena Williams’ name is on the entry list for the Indian Wells tournament for the first time since she vowed in 2001 to never return.
The Williams sisters were scheduled to meet in the semifinals that year, but 20 minutes before the match, Venus withdrew and fans booed them. Serena went on to win her second title there, but she and Venus said they would not return, and they have skipped the last 12 events. Their father later said he heard racial slurs from the crowd during the final.
Tournament director Steve Simon said Wednesday that while it's too soon to know whether Serena Williams will play or not, officials are pleased to see her name on the entry list.
During the Australian Open, Williams said she considered a return to Indian Wells after watching a movie about the late South African President Nelson Mandela, inspired by his message of reconciliation.
Venus Williams’ name was not on the list of entries released for the BNP Paribas Open from March 3-10.
Also entered on the women's side were No. 2 Victoria Azarenka; No. 3 Maria Sharapova; No. 8 Jelena Jankovic; No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki; Ana Ivanovic, who beat Serena Williams in the Australian Open this week; and Daniela Hantuchova.
Leading the men’s entries were defending champion Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and the rest of the top 10 players.