EJI celebrates Serena Williams’ triumphant return to the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells this week, where she advanced to the semi-finals but then injured her knee, forcing her to withdraw on Friday night.
Over a decade ago, Serena and her family were subjected to racial slurs at Indian Wells. Now one of the greatest tennis players in women’s tennis history, she decided to return to Indian Wells and use her return as an opportunity to also support EJI’s work confronting racial inequality and injustice. EJI is honored to stand with Serena, and to show our gratitude and support.
Serena told fans on Friday that she’d been injured during practice a couple of days earlier. “Today I was struggling just to even walk,” she said, explaining she got an injection for the first time but it did not help.
She had played four matches since being welcomed back the previous Friday and won three in straight sets. She was disappointed about having to withdraw but addressed the crowd before her semi-final match and expressed her eagerness to return next year. She described her return to Indian Wells as a positive event and put her prior visit behind her.
“I feel that was 14 years ago and this is now. I did the best that I could at this event, and I really am happy to have put a lot of that behind me,” Serena said Friday. “If I would have known I had to pull out, I would have played anyway just to have an opportunity to be back at this tournament and to be able to play.”
EJI congratulates Serena, celebrates her courage, and wishes her a speedy recovery.