Serena ends Indian Wells exile

Williams, who recently won her sixth career Australian Open title, last featured at the California tournament in 2001.

She was due to play older sister Venus in a semi-final that year, but when Venus withdrew with a knee injury shortly before the match, the family, including father Richard, were allegedly the subject of racist abuse.

The booing and heckling continued during her final win over Kim Clijsters but Williams says she is now ready to end her 14-year boycott of the event.

In a column for Time magazine, Williams wrote: “It has been difficult for me to forget spending hours crying in the Indian Wells locker room after winning in 2001, driving back to Los Angeles feeling as if I had lost the biggest game ever – not a mere tennis game but a bigger fight for equality.

“I’m fortunate to be at a point in my career where I have nothing to prove. I’m still as driven as ever, but the ride is a little easier. I play for the love of the game.

“It is with that love in mind, and a new understanding of the true meaning of forgiveness, that I will proudly return to Indian Wells in 2015.

???I have thought about going back to Indian Wells many times over my career, I said a few times that I would never play there again. And believe me, I meant it. I admit it scared me. What if I walked onto the court and the entire crowd booed me? The nightmare would start all over.

“I’m just following my heart on this one. Indian Wells was a pivotal moment of my story, and I am a part of the tournament’s story as well.???

Williams is a two-time winner of the tournament which is scheduled to take place this year from March 11-22.

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