INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Serena Williams has returned to the BNP Paribas Open, ending a 14-year personal boycott of the $5 million tournament that began when she was booed as a teenager on her way to winning the title in 2001.
Williams took questions during a 10-minute news conference on Thursday, a day before the world’s top-ranked women’s player is to compete in her first match.
The 19-time major champion says she never thought she would return to the two-week tournament in the Southern California desert. However, she says she eventually decided “it was really good timing for me.”
Last month, Williams announced her change of heart in a column for Time.com.
She says she was nervous informing her parents about her decision. She says they were both supportive, with her father Richard telling her “it would be a big mistake if I didn’t go back.”