Serena Williams confirms Indian Wells return

Last updated 13:25 23/01/2014

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Serena Williams has entered the Indian Wells tournament for the first time since vowing in 2001 to never return.

The sisters were scheduled to meet in the semifinals in 2001, but 20 minutes before the match, Venus withdrew and fans booed them. Serena went on to win her second title at Indian Wells, but she and Venus said they would never return. Their father later said he heard racial slurs from the crowd during the final.

When the entries for the BNP Paribas Open from March 3-10 were released on Wednesday, Venus Williams' name was absent - but her sister was on the list.

Tournament director Steve Simon said Wednesday that while it's too soon to know whether Serena Williams will play or not, officials are pleased to see her name on the entry list.

During the Australian Open, Williams said she considered a return to Indian Wells after watching a movie about the late South African President Nelson Mandela, and being inspired by his message of reconciliation.

Also entered on the women's side were No. 2 Victoria Azarenka; No. 3 Maria Sharapova; No. 8 Jelena Jankovic; No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki; Ana Ivanovic, who beat Serena Williams in the Australian Open this week; and Daniela Hantuchova.

Leading the men's entries were defending champion Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and the rest of the top 10 players.

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- AP

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