Yesha Callahan

Indian Wells Owes Serena Williams An Apology


Over the weekend, Serena Williams marked her return to Indian Wells after a 13 year boycott. In 2001, Venus and Serena were both booed by ‘fans’ and were even accused of cheating. But that wasn’t the half of it. The Williams family received racial taunts and officially stopped attending the tournament.

“When Venus and I were walking down the stairs to our seats, people kept calling me ‘nigger,” her father and coach Richard Williams said. Richard also said one man threatened him, “I wish it was ’75; we’d skin you alive.’

As Serena made her way back on the court Friday night, the standing ovation lasted over a minute. She was emotional with tears and so were members of her family. People have paid good money to see Serena back at Indian Wells. Tickets have gone for upwards of $400. Indian Wells is making a profit.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Serena said after her second-round victory against Romania’s Monica Niculescu (7-5, 7-5) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. “In the last couple of moments leading up to it, I was focused on warming up for the match and I wasn’t really prepared for that. I was overwhelmed by it.”

But Indian Wells have yet to apologize.

I applaud Serena for making her return to Indian Wells, but I’m not sure I would have. The Williams sisters have been subjected to so much ridicule, not just from Indian Wells, but through tons of people during their career. The fact that two black women can dominate a sport usually known for their white athletes, still makes some people upset.

As people sit back and applaud Serena’s return, one has to wonder if Indian Wells will ever apologize on behalf of those anonymous racist people. Apologize and then thank Serena for making their pockets fatter.

Image Credit: Getty Images

  1. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    The Williams family are better than I. I would have boycotted Indian Wells until I died.

    • March 17, 2015 - Reply


      that’s what i was thinking. call me out my name & you might as well be dead to me. i don’t negotiate w/racists.

      • March 17, 2015 - Reply


        Maybe “white fragility” is keeping Indian Wells from apologizing. LOL.
        *side-eying dumb people who make up BS excuses*

  2. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    This shows the great compassion and forgiving spirit that black people have. I wouldn’t blame her if Serena Williams never came into Indian Wells again. It’s her decision and Serena has shown great grace and yes Indian Wells should apologize for many things. Serena Williams is the best female tennis player of all time in my view.

    • March 18, 2015 - Reply

      either that, or she was in the mood to piss some people off 🙂

      • March 18, 2015 - Reply


        I feel you on that point. 🙂 Obviously, she takes no mess from anyone. This is what we love about her. She has a strong will.

  3. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    They have endured so much through out their career and they are still standing, I think it is shameful the racism in this country that the dominant culture continues to deny

    • March 18, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      It’s probably easier now for them to deal with it because social media puts those incidents on blast Can you imagine what was said about them as children? Before they won their first match. Two people who I want to be a fly on the wall and overhear: Mrs. Obama and Mr. Williams.

  4. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    Some have noted that Venus was the sister who was abused the worse at Indian Wells. She would not even consider returning to that tournament.

    • March 18, 2015 - Reply


      It must be comforting to have a sister who plays the same sport and shares the same experiences. Tiger was all alone, and we see how he turned out

  5. March 19, 2015 - Reply

    Serena returning to Indian Wells should give others an example of the fact that not all Black people are alike or react to abuse the same way. Serena chose to be forgiving and Venus chose to be unforgiving. Each are strong positions and one I can support.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: