WTA Tour

Venus ends Indian Wells boycott

Venus Williams (AFP)
Venus Williams (AFP)

Los Angeles - Former world number one Venus Williams is ending her 14-year boycott of the WTA and ATP hardcourt tournament at Indian Wells a year after her sister Serena returned, tournament officials said Wednesday.

Tenth-ranked Venus Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion and four-time Olympic champion, has not played in the California desert event since 2001, when she controversially defaulted a semi-final match to Serena.

Fans booed Venus and her father as they entered the stadium for the final as well as Serena during the final and trophy presentation, with racial remarks helping spur the sisters to skip the event until top-ranked Serena Williams played there last year, saying it was time for forgiveness.

Venus Williams, 35, lost in the first round of this month's Australian Open and has not won a Grand Slam singles crown since Wimbledon in 2008.

"We are thrilled that Venus Williams, one of the greatest women's players in the history of the game, is returning to play," said Indian Wells tournament chief executive Raymond Moore. "Our fans embraced Serena last year, and we expect nothing less for Venus when she returns to compete at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden."

World number one Serena Williams and second-ranked defending champion Simona Halep were also joined in the field for the March 9-20 event by third-ranked Garbine Muguruza, 2014 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, 2006 and 2013 champion Maria Sharapova and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova.

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