Serena Williams to play 1st match Friday at Indian Wells
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Top-ranked Serena Williams will play her first match at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday night in her return to the tournament she has boycotted since 2001.
She will meet the winner of a first-round match between Monica Niculescu of Romania and Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia.
Williams has won the Indian Wells tournament twice, including 2001. She received a wild card into this year’s event and is the top seed on the women’s side.
Williams had repeatedly vowed never to return to Indian Wells after getting booed in 2001. She was to play a semifinal against sister Venus, who pulled out 20 minutes before the start with a knee injury. Serena was booed again in the final against Kim Clijsters and her father said he heard racial slurs in the crowd.