Serena and Venus Williams are happy to be back at Indian Wells after a prolonged absence from the Masters 1000 event.
The sisters last played together at the Florida tournament 15 years ago. In 2001, the sisters were set to meet in the semi-finals but Venus withdrew due to a knee injury. When Serena walked out to play in the final the following day, the crowd booed and it got even worse when Venus emerged and made her way to the players box. Despite the win for Serena, the sisters have boycotted the event ever since.
Serena made an emotional return to Indian Wells in 2015 and is now joined by her sister in 2016.
“I’m definitely a little bit more relaxed,” the 33-year-old told wtatennis.com.
“Does it feel like a normal tournament? Definitely a lot more than last year. We’re making strides.
“We talked about it a lot, and also last year before I came here I would never have come if she said, ‘I don’t think you should come, and I don’t think it’s a good idea.’ I would never have came if it wasn’t for that.
“We talked about it last year and I remember her saying that it wasn’t time for her because she was dealing with a lot physically with her illnesses, and she’d played a lot already, so it wasn’t good timing. I know that she wanted to try to make an effort and see what it was like and go from there.”
Both sisters get their campaigns underway on Friday night, with Serena facing Laura Siegmund of Germany and Venus playing Japan’s Kurumi Nara.