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Serena Williams – Indian Wells never again

Serena WilliamsNew WTA rules which take effect in 2009 oblige players to take part in a number of tournaments, among which is Indian Wells. Those who refuse to compete will be subjects to sanctions (suspension from the next two premium tournaments) and big fines.

Despite all this, Serena says that chances of her returning to Indian Wells are slim to none. She is boycotting this tournament because of her bad experience in 2001, when she was booed and subjected to racial taunts. WTA announced that they are not going to adjust the rules for individual players, while the father of Williams sisters threatens the WTA Tour that he will take legal action if it tries to force his daughters to play in this tournament.

In my opinion, Serena should move on, leave that painful experience behind, and let us enjoy her talent in as many matches as possible. She should think of all those people who support her, and not waste her energy on those who certainly don't deserve it. (photo: Wire Image)

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45 thoughts on “Serena Williams – Indian Wells never again

  1. pauline

    It's seem that the WTA, is supporting racism. What about two face Billie Jean? she really care about women rights what about a black women rights? To be at peace. It's simple we African American need to boycott Sony, Sony is the pay master of Indian wells, like Pete Billie, etc who own Indian wells get the message that racism don't pay. I haven't hear what these people WTA have done to stop racism at their event. I won't go to Indian Wells, I am black I won't feel welcome or safe. Just leave the Williams sister alone.

  2. Celeste

    I saw that tournament and that girl was only 19 when those white people viciously verbally attacked her and her family. It was the worst thing I have ever seen in a tennis match. The Indian Wells promoters should have rejected the crowd's behavior immediately over the loud speaker and apologized to Serena and her family for the pain that it caused.

    That 19 year old child, cried her way through the final set…..and still won!

    I do not blame the Williams one bit for never stepping foot in that tournament again.

    Keep holding them by the tennis balls girls!

  3. Marion

    I am embarrassed to be white after the way people at Indian Wells treated Serena. They should never play there again and those people booing should be ashamed of themselves! If they didn't want to watch her play they shouldn't have gone and sat down.

  4. Emma

    Why is the WTA forcing the William's girls to play indian wells? that goes on to show they support racism and that's not acceptable in this day and era! The tournament should get off their high horses and apologise publicly the William's family and maybe the girls will re-think; although i think they still may not play… I could have done the same if I was Serena or Venus. Why go back to such a place especially when they were playing on home soil? These girls have made alot of money and are nearing retirement, so I guess the fines they may pay for not playing will be nothing to what they earn in other tournaments and endorsement deals! I support them 100% not to play there unless they are apologiesed to!

  5. Radaik

    You'll find haters no matter where you go. I watched a soccer match where the italians made monkey sounds everytime the other team's african american touched the ball. Up until then, I had no idea italians were that narrow minded. Just the other week during the olympics, the italian teams took the time to rear their ugliness again against the asians. This isn't the first time racism has reared it's head. The william's sisters should try once again and goto Indian Wells. All eyes will be on the staff, the WTA, and how the public acts. Don't let ignorance make you avoid what you like to do best. If it happens again, the williams sisters, family, friends, and other fans, have every right to continue boycotting that place. I'm sure others will do the same. You don't deserve to have top players grace your grounds if you're going to allow them to be abused.

  6. Emma

    No way! they should boycott the tournament because they've never received an apology since the event happened in 2001. And I hope Richard Williams sue's the WTA if they try to force his daughters to play there… am sure the williams family will pocket alot of money from this!!! and the wta will look fools at their own game.

  7. Gary

    WTA representative Larry Scott has not given any information on what the WTA and the Indian Wells tournament has done to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.

    There is absolutely no way that you would epect Serena or her family to expose themselves to that sort of treatment.

    Before being tennis players they are human beings.

    Shame on WTA and Indian Wells

  8. Dee

    I grew up in Italy and was black and faced much less racism than I do here. The country who made the racist photos was Spain, as was, I think the incident you are talking about.
    The difference here is that these were AMERICANS booing an AMERICAN on AMERICAN soil!!!!!!!
    Even without the claims of racism, this is disgusting. Oh yes the French did it to her as well at the French open, but wait, they were French and she is AMERICAN.
    If you don't get whey they won't play, you never will.

  9. Tony A.

    I have been a huge fan of tennis for a very long time. As an African American tennis fan, I was extremely proud of how tennis acknowledeged the struggle and achievements of great african american tennis players. Conversely, I am extremely distressed that when offered the opportunity to stand behind its players after an ugly incident, the WTA showed it "true colors" – Green. The WTA clearly showed that it is not "really" interested in making this great sport accessible and attractive to "all" people. In the end, the WTA backed "green backs" and ultimately made the Williams' choice to stand by their principles a possibly "career ending decision." If you believe in the principles in which shaped this country, you should boycott the Indian Wells tournament and send a message to the WTA – we will not be coerced. If you think the Williams' reaction to this ugly incident in 2001 seem melodramatic, consider this – this is 2008 and erudite, accomplished and charismatic people of color are still being forced to choose between standing behind their principles or being put at a distinct disadvantage by the establishment that is supposed to be their biggest advocates. Shame on you WTA.

  10. John M

    the williams sisters are doing exactly what the racist cowards are wanting them to do. they need to go back there and play in it no matter what. they should view this differently. they should play this although they know that they may hear or see racial actions. they should play this to show how strong they are. this will teach the racist cowards to deal with it, and that the williams sisters are able to rise above racism and evil.

  11. TL

    SCREW INDIAN WELLS. THIS "NEW" RULING THAT THEY HAVE IS BS!!! THEY DIDN'T WANT THEM THERE WHEN THEY WERE JUST LITTLE BLACK GIRLS STARTING OUT ON THE SCENE, BUT…. NOW!!! NOW THAT THE WILLIAMS GIRLS ARE THE "WORLD"S GREATEST", THEY MAKE A RULE TRYING TO FORCE THEM TO PLAY IN THEIR RACIST TOURNAMENT. MISS THAT MONEY HUH, INDIAN WELLS???
    I AGREE WITH CELESTE, "KEEP HOLDING THEM BY THE TENNIS BALLS LADIES" YOU ARE MY HEROS!!!!

  12. bukky

    NO WAY! VENUS & SERENA SHD NOT PLAY AT INDIAN WELLS, WTA NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND THAT RACISM HAS NO PLACE IN TODAYS WORLD. THEY NEED THEM TO SELL TICKETS BUT THEY SHALL NOT PLAY EXCEPT IF THEY APOLOGISE AND REVISIT THE CASE AGAIN… HOW CAN I BE BOOED IN MY OWN COUNTRY??? PURE RACISM THK GOD FOR OBAMA IN TODAYZ WORLD

  13. Carlotta Tendant

    If they don't play, does it mean they cannot play Sony Ericsson Open in Miami? I hope not. Sony Ericsson Open would probably prefer to risk losing WTA sanctioning than prevent the Williams sisters from playing due to some stupid rule which was designed to force them to play Indian Wells.

  14. Carlotta Tendant

    If they don't play Indian Wells, does it mean WTA will try to prohibit them from the Sony Ericsson Open? I think Sony Ericsson Open would rather risk the loss of WTA sanctioning than bounce Venus and Serena from the tournament. Should be quite a showdown… The rule is stupid and is obviously designed to beat up on Serena and Venus for their exercise of free will.

  15. paul sibbs

    The williams sisters should never go back to indian wells and they should sue the WTA for millions if they force them to play there. There will be lots of lawyers waiting to draw a big pay day from the WTA

    In my opinion its an effort to force the williams sisters out

    Remember Rosa Parks incident? The fools did not know how much they needed black people until the bus system was running on empty. Indian Wells tournament is not making enough money because the williams sisters dont show. And why is that? because much folks dont look at tennis if the williams girls are not playing. As a result the TV ratings are down and the revenue is down. Its funny how it always take simple dollars and cents examples to make jack asses wake up and see what jack asses they really are

  16. lapidus

    Scott and the WTA seem to be hankerin' for a whole heap o' trouble. How many times have we gone to or viewed a tournament where the chair ump admonishes a solitary indiscretion from a single bore…or a tournament official chastising a boisterous (but not necessarily insulting) crowd? Now, contrast that with the Indian Wells management, top to bottom, when confronted with that lynch mob mentality crowd's venom against a [fellow American] teenager. It really doesn't matter if there's no proof of specific racial taunts. The behaviour of that crowd was sui generis. I've never seen anything like it in tennis, before or since…and certainly not against a fellow countryman.

    Again, specific proof of racial comments is a red herring. You don't need it to show that something extraordinary and distasteful was going on. Anyone who thinks otherwise is [knowingly] fooling the rest of us and themselves.

    Scott might win a lawsuit but to have to promulgate a defense to one brought by the Williamses will be a public relations nightmare.

  17. alexis

    How rude indian wells cannot generate a big audience because william sister are not playing in that tournament so the WTA proposed a new ploicy which forcing top players to play in a tier1 tournament well in fact its just a way to force the williams sister to play at indian wells are WTA nuts

  18. Pingback: Serena and Venus Williams still determined to skip Indian Wells, will avoid suspension though | Serena Williams

  19. Torrman

    I really wish the williams sisters will play at this tournament again. I live about 50 miles away and I go out there a few times every year. I don't know exactly what happened but i assume it was pretty bad and serena should be pissed but she should give it another shot. Every time i go out there, i always here people talk about how much they want to see the williams sisters play and i feel the same way. Most of the people are not racist and they love the williams sisters. I can't say if some of the leaders of the tourney are racist but the crowd now would not put up with it at all. Everyone loves the williams sisters so much. I have also seen quite a few other black players out there like donald young, tsonga, and a low ranked girl who was very nice. they seem to like the tournament. Donald young looks like he is having a blast every year and he always takes pictures with the crowd and talks to people. So i feel that even if there are a few bad apples, most people are good fans who would love to see the sisters play.

  20. Bonnie Massey

    It is a decision that Venus and Serena must make and no on else. They are two very intelligent and strong young women who should be supported in their decision. I admire them and support them in their actions! They are true role models!!

  21. vic

    No amount of money gained or lost is going to sway Serena and Venus to play that tournament again. They want to see Serena and Venus play there, and at the same time allow the abuse to carry on without any apology or crowd control! Forget about ranking points either cos we all know who the true number one player is and am so glad Serena doesn't give a rat's ass about the ranking, which sucks anyways (they deducted her points for the tourny she won last year which now has been cancelled) and it aint her fault! U can't rank Serena, she's simply the top female athlete and reigns supreme! Serena and Venus u r both the best ever! The quality of women tennis at Indian Wells has been appalling this year, so don't use REna and Vee has a pawn!

  22. Jackie

    This new rule was introduced only to force the William sisters to play at Indian Wells.
    The right approach would have been to apologize to the Williams.
    The plan has now backfired!
    Not only have the sisters refused to play, the WTA has no choice but let them off without suspensions and fines!!
    BTW, I dont think they should come back to play even if WTA apologizes.
    Go Serena!!! Go Venus!!!

  23. Francois

    Can you just shut up all of you who are thinking that Venus and Serena should just forget and play IW again? That should not and would not happen unless the WTA and the IW organizers dress a public apology to Willams' sisters to what happened in 2001; and have to ensure that this will never happen again. If something like that comes to occur there will be mesures in place in order to avoid that and sanction whoever did that.
    Because it look like to me that the Indiana wells tournment and the WTA seem not to understand what happened did affect a lot and it should be condemne seriously and Venus and Serena do deserve a public apology.

  24. klaus

    The Williams sisters would do well to avoid Indian Wells ever again. Serena screwed hundreds of fans out of the final. How can you defend that she was really injured when she went on to win the Miami tournament the very next week, HUH????
    She is a real quitter. A true champion, aka Agassi, did you ever see him forfeit a match? No, he would play through the pain.
    The Williams sister will get booed if they ever return to Indian Wells and they deserve it!!!

  25. leo

    I just watched the video on YouTube, and I think for every person who has an objective stand, (as for me, I am an Asian living in Europe, I think I am objective enough to say), the way the crowd behaved is TOTALLY UNBEARABLE! But I am not suprised, u always see in different media Americans saying proudly that they are proud of their country coz freedom is there. But the fact is that people are discriminated by their color as Williams were treated; people are discriminated and even deprived of the right to live their life the way they want, as the "incredible" No.8 event (if u don't like the way others choose at lease do not stop them from being themselves).
    I believe one thing: one do not have to repeat how he/she is or put a tag on his/her own if he/she really is that way. So some people should really re-think, what is freedom and where it is?
    So, support for the Williams, and sad for the people who are still living in their own world.

  26. delois

    for the person, that talked about the jews, the blacks of america did not do this HITLER did it, now i am a black american, and i believe they should return for one time, and win, the best revenge is LIVING WELL, that means take the money and be happy, i see the tournament went all out whe s peer was denied a visa to play in dubai, and i dont understand why, she had did no wrong, so whi didn't they apologize to the williams, i dont know, maybe they thought being called names was alright, since they were cheating them out of matches, i am probably alone, but go back with a vengeance, and take it all, after 2010 they will put more rules, and eventually they will pay or play, and after the 1st suspension, it will only esclates to bigger fines and longers suspensions, they have done to much to go out like that.

  27. Liv

    I fully support Vee and Serena and encourage them to continue boycotting Indian Wells. I remember so clearly the last time they played there. Venus was forced to retire because of an injury she had re-aggravated during her match. For some reason that classless Indian Wells crowd got the notion that Venus quit to let Serena get a shot at winning. When Vee's retirement was announced, the crowd became very irate. They began calling the Willams family all kinds of racial slurs and other names. It was a very ugly scene. The Williams sisters were clearly upset and shaken from this. The media, Indian Wells and WTA tried to pass it off as nothing. To this day, the media is yet to report the truth, and Indian Wells and the WTA are yet to apologize to the Williams family.

    I recall two other incidents with rude American fans. The US Open, American player Venus Williams was booed and jeered by an American crowd in favor of French player Amelie Muresmo. Stunning. Even Amelie was amazed by that. Only Martina Navratilova called it was it was.

    The Sony Ericsson Open, Serena Williams was called the constantly being heckled and call the N-word and by an American fan. The Chair Umpire refused to do anything about it until Serena stop play and demand that that person be removed.

    I just don't understand why these wonderfully gifted American tennis players are looked upon with such venom. Of course, I hear all the petty excuses many offer up. Still, those excuses don't hold water because the Williams sisters don't say or do anything less than the any of the other tennis players on tour. I've heard and watch them all say and do the same thing.

    My word, I'm amaze how some American fans treat the Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova as if she's an American. Well, she's not.

    As for the WTA, if you can stand up for Israeli Shahar Peer, I expect you to do the damn same for Venus and Serena Williams too!

  28. Levon Goodman

    Indian Wells was racist for expecting Serena to play Venus in the semis.

    White players fake last minute injuries all the time to avoid a match against their siblings.

    Why boo the Williams'?

    Serena, this is an injustice and you should speak truth to power! To really prove your point, you and Venus should boycott all tournaments for a whole year.

  29. chad

    they were booing the williams camp….it wasn't racial you stupid people….venus would have played had anyone other than serena been the opponent…..the williams sisters are divas….outstanding athletes yes….the father is an ass…..racism is everywhere but this was not racism…..this was disappointment and reaction to the williams attitude and lack of respect….

  30. Marianne Brownie

    The Williams sisters should never play at Indian Wells again, also Mr. Williams should sue WTA for ever thing they have if the sisters are force to play at Indian Wells. In todays society no race,sex or religion should abe subjected to such predjuice. I am proud of the William sister and I am proud of all the other sports people who put much training and effort into their careers no matter what their race or other differences are. I am ashame of WTA and won't be in tune to any thing produce at Indian Wells 12-09

  31. Anon

    'Chad' that us untrue. It was a racial attack. After reading Serena's autobiography and reading her view on this event it was really horrible. She was 19 and she was trying to come out of her sister's shadow. They were booing the Williams camp and Serena and no Venus was injured, she ruled herself out playing way before the match was due to start. Good for both of them to not go back.

  32. Intelligentia

    It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees-Source forgtten.

    I'm glad Serena and Venus never let these racist bullies force them into anything.

  33. andrew

    being a tennis coach of color, i know what it is like dealing with prejudice and bigotry.For the sake of tennis the sisters should consider returning to indian wells,however they must not be threatened with fines because the WTA has never tried to resolve the issue.

  34. richard

    I use to be an Athlete, I competed at a high level,and can imagine what it was like, even though
    I did not experience that level of racism.The Williams are right not to go back,what would it achive? All you people sayiny they should go back and show them….show them what? People that are racist need to no that their racist,if the Williams were to go back to IW it would not stop people being racist,the organisers need to do something about it to show that it will not be tolerated at IW or any other sport.People talk about the Williams loosiig out on prize money etc, it should not be about money.Repect to the Williams.

  35. richard

    I use to be an Athlete, I competed at a high level,and can imagine what it was like, even though
    I did not experience that level of racism.The Williams are right not to go back,what would it achive? All you people saying they should go back and show them….show them what? People that are racist need to know that their racist,if the Williams were to go back to IW it would not stop people being racist,the organisers need to do something about it to show that it will not be tolerated at IW or any other sport.People talk about the Williams loosing out on prize money etc, it should not be about money.Repect to the Williams.

  36. Tam

    Those days are over where you can call some one the N word and demand they still work for you.
    In the real workplace this would be grounds to sue. I hope the Williams family continues to stay strong in the refusal to play at IW's ever again. And I think the WTA should be sued for fining them for not playing. Words are the worst scars because they never fade. Why should they be subjected to relive that horrific moment in there young lives. I don't see where any fan has reached out to apologize, that tells me the environment would still hostile as ever. If anything they are probably even more bitter.

  37. Martin Badger

    Serena should think of all of us who can't stand her – lots, believe me – and boycott ALL tournaments. Imagine no more whining and moaning from the biggest mouth in tennis. Great!

  38. Peter M. Arel

    I'd really like to see Indian Wells and its organizers go BELLY UP because of their NONFEASANCE!THAT WOULD REALLY BE JUSTICE!FOR VENUS AND SERENA TO BOTH RETIRE FROM TENNIS FOR KEEPS-AND PUBLICLY ANNOUNCE THEIR RETIREMENT-WOULD A BITTER YET RICHLY DESERVED REBUKE TO THE WTA.

  39. Peter M. Arel

    The Indian Wells organizers and the WTA DESERVE TO LOSE THEIR SHIRTS AND THEN SOME FOR FAILING TO STOP THE ABUSE the
    Williams sisters suffered in that tournament!Also there should be a "NO REFUNDS" policy aimed at STOPPING ANY FURTHER racial slurs from the crowds.If the girls were to NEVER play Indian Wells again but publicly announce their decision to RETIRE FROM TENNIS FOR KEEPS when the WTA tries to punish them for blowing off Indian Wells, that would be a RICHLY DESERVED REBUKE TO THE WTA!

  40. Peter M. Arel

    The Indian Wells incident shows that sometimes you have to take a stand by NOT doing something. It would be extremely FOOL-HARDY FOR THE WILLIAMS SISTERS, HAVING PREVIOUSLY SUFFERED RACIAL ABUSE AT THE HANDS OF AN UNRULY CROWD AT INDIAN WELLS, TO GO RUNNING BACK FOR MORE. The WTA can fine and suspend these young women till the cows come home and the Williams Sisters would still say "Screw you!"

  41. P!nky

    Can I ask have the Sisters ever been fined or suspended for not showing up. I agree that the WTA and Indian Wells should apologize to them for that abuse. In football players and fans that do racial abuse get fined and suspended regularly. This goes along the lines that the Williams sisters are privileged in tennis.

  42. Pingback: Serena Williams busy with Oscars, karaoke and pure business | Women's Tennis Blog

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