(February 4, 2015) World No. 1 Serena Williams has accepted a wild card into the BNP Paribas Open, to be held March 9-22, 2015 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, it was announced today by Williams in an exclusive Time Magazine article.
She returns to the tournament after a 14-year absence. In 2001, Williams was booed during her final versus Kim Clijsters. The day before Venus Williams withdrew from the tournament, 20 minutes before her match against Serena.
Williams won the match and the title that year. Her father Richard Williams said that he heard racial slurs in the crowd during that final.
Serena Williams wrote about an “undercurrent of racism” that her family has felt at Indian Wells and vowed never to return. She has had a change of heart.
“This is fantastic news for fans and I congratulate Serena on her decision to play the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells again, ” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman & CEO.
“She is coming back with a great approach by connecting with fans in support of an incredible cause, the Equal Justice Initiative, to positively impact the lives of others. Serena has been missed at the tournament and I know she will be warmly received by the fans at Indian Wells.”
In addition, Williams announced she is offering fans an opportunity to be her guest at the BNP Paribas Open. Fans who donate $10 or more to Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), an organization that provides legal representation to individuals who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system, will be entered in a drawing to win a trip to Indian Wells and sit courtside during her first match, have the opportunity to return one of her serves during a practice session, and take home one of her racquets. For details and other experiences being offered, and to enter, visit http://www.omaze.com/experiences/Serena-Williams.
Today I announced that I’m going back to Indian Wells and I want you to come with me! Watch here & enter to join me: http://t.co/ITSzCjqTMB
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) February 4, 2015