Back in 2001, Serena and Venus Williams started their boycott of the Indian Wells Masters in California after an uneasy time at the tournament there that year. Although their specific reasoning wasn’t abundantly clear, there were reports that both sisters and their father received racist taunts while trying to watch the tournament.
In 2015 Serena ended the boycott, being the first Williams sister to return to Indian Wells. Venus followed this year, and walking onto the court for her match on Friday, the crowd made her feel more at ease than when she was there last with a standing ovation.
Venus lost her match to Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-4, 6-3, but made sure to highlight the reception post match, telling The New York Times:
“At the time, I didn’t feel comfortable — I wouldn’t have felt comfortable coming back through those doors, the very next year would have just been too overwhelming. So at the time, it was just about being able to play in circumstances that are — and we’re not even talking about favorable — but just normal circumstances.
“You try to put yourself in a position where you’re not facing any adverse circumstances. So that’s really what it was at the time. I wasn’t angry. I’m not an angry person. But I definitely probably hold on to stuff like anybody normal.”
It’s great to see such a positive reaction to Venus Williams’ return.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports