Serena Williams withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells with a right knee injury only an hour before her semifinal match against Simona Halep.
Ironically, it is the same injury that caused her sister Venus to withdraw from the tournament in 2001, which led to boos for Serena and a 14-year boycott.
Williams reflected on her return to Indian Wells on social media:
4 months ago I began a journey to play Indian Wells and it was amazing. I never dreamed I could do it. But I would not have been able to do this without my fans. Though it ended early due to injury this year, I have to say I cannot wait to try again next year. Thanks everyone. I love you so much!
Williams boycotted the tournament for more than a decade following her rude treatment there in 2001. Her dramatic return this year brought cheers instead of boos from the crowd and an emotional response from the world’s top-ranked women’s tennis player.