Rumored to have bought the title, Serena Williams responded harshly

Serena Williams once denied the claims that her father, Richard, orchestrated Venus Williams’ controversial withdrawal from the 2001 Indian Wells Open.

That year, Venus and Serena Williams both delivered impressive campaigns at the WTA 1000 event, setting the stage for a blockbuster semifinal showdown. However, mere minutes before their match, Venus pulled out of the tournament due to tendonitis, leaving the spectators immensely disappointed.

Speculation soon swirled among fans about their father Richard orchestrating Venus’ withdrawal to bolster Serena’s chances of winning the title, with Elena Dementieva’s allegations regarding the same adding fuel to the fire. 

The older sister was suspected of wanting to help her younger sister recover for the final match under the direction of her father – coach Richard Williams, so the audience booed the Williams family throughout the stands. Serena still won the prize that year, clinching a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory, but Venus and Serena Williams then boycotted the WTA 1000 event from 2002 onwards, until Serena made a return to the tournament in 2015, with Venus following suit in 2016. According to both sisters, her triumph was overshadowed by racist abuse directed at them and Richard Williams during the match.

Ahead of her opening match at the 2015 Indian Wells Open, Serena Williams firmly stated her intention to move on from the 2001 incident, emphasizing her unwavering integrity as the only statement she would offer.

“Like I said, I’m not here to focus on what happened in 2001. I can say that I was a teenager. I have a tremendous amount of integrity from the day I stepped out on the court professionally until today. Yeah, that’s all I’ll say about that,” Serena said in her pre-tournament press conference.

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