In 2001, Venus and Serena were supposed to meet in the semifinals of the Indian Wells tournament, but Venus pulled out of the match an hour before citing tendinitis. On ESPN Patrick McEnroe spewed that the Williams Sisters made him sick. Mary Carillo, Pam Shriver and Mary Jo Fernandez made similar disgusting remarks. Tennis writers, who, notably, were not of color, jumped in with unsubstantiated claims of match-fixing between the two sisters and what ensued on the day of the finals became a circus of historic proportion.
Before the match began, Venus, her father, Richard and their entourage, were booed thoroughly by fans and reportedly yelled racial remarks at the group as they were getting seated. When Serena took the court to play the final match against Kim Clijsters, the entire stadium booed her and continued to do so with every double-fault, unforce error or winner from Clijsters throughout the match.
Remarkably, Serena won the match but she was in tears and to me, it is one of the many dark days that the greatest female player of our times has had to face in order to do her job as a professional . . . and these incidences ALWAYS seem to happen in the United States.
The family did not receive an apology, or any support from the tennis community and the tournament director, Charlie Pasarell's only comment was that those (racial) words would not have been spoken by the Indian Wells community.
For that reason, the Williamses do not play the tournament and for that reason, Indian Wells can NEVER be considered the 5th major . . . thank goodness for the Miami tournament!