Venus/Serena & Indian Wells questions
This article was in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Was the alleged racial remark the real reason they weren't participating this year, or was it more the unfair booing that Serena had to put up with throughout the final? This guy doesn't even mention the latter. And I thought I did read that other people heard the racial remarks, too, but maybe I am mistaken.
Williams message: absence with malice
by Charles Bricker
Published March 10, 2002
This is the face of vindictiveness: Venus and Serena Williams at home in Palm Beach Gardens this week, boycotting the $2 million Indian Wells tournament because of the alleged racial incident that took place at the tournament a year ago.
Ask father Richard Williams about it, and he holds nothing back. He was the one who claimed someone called out to him from the audience with a racial slur as he and Venus walked down the steps to their seats before Serena's match.
Not one person in the vast audience that day came forward to corroborate Williams' story, and former tour CEO Bart McGuire's subsequent investigation turned up no evidence that the incident took place.
Despite all the publicity, no one came forward to support Williams' claim, and no one wrote a letter to a newspaper saying they, too, were appalled by some racial remark.
Nevertheless, the Williams family is determined to make the tournament pay, though Venus seems reluctant to discuss the issue.
``Well, all in all, it was just basically an incredible scene last year in Indian Wells,'' she said. ``But that's part of sports, playing with the good and bad.''
She added, wistfully: ``I've always liked that tournament, and basically I had my first big break there in the desert. So some of my best memories are there. Actually, the first time I got in the quarterfinals, I was like 200 in the world. I have a lot of great memories there.''
Neither she nor Serena, who is the defending champion, have issued any direct explanation of why they're not playing.
They don't have to, though. Everyone knows and this doesn't help their reputations.