MIAMI (Reuters) - Richard Williams has threatened the WTA Tour with legal action if it tries to force his daughters Venus and Serena to play at Indian Wells, which will become in 2009 one of four mandatory events for top-ranked players.
The Williams sisters vowed in 2001 never to return to Indian Wells after they were jeered and, according to their father subjected to racial slurs, when Venus withdrew from a match against Serena.
“We’ll definitely have to consider legal action,” Williams said in Wednesday’s Sun-Sentinel paper. “And the WTA don’t make the rules for America.”
Serena Williams said she would discuss the situation with WTA chief executive Larry Scott but added there was little chance she would ever again set foot on a tennis court at Indian Wells.
“I need to have a sit down and pow-wow with Larry Scott,” Williams told reporters on Wednesday following her Sony Ericsson Open quarter-final win over Czech Nicole Vaidisova. “But I can guarantee you the chances of getting me to Indian Wells are slim and none.
“I’m not going to go back. I have no interest in going.
“It’s just how I feel. I think anyone who went through what I went through would feel a similar position.”
As part of a sweeping overhaul, the WTA Tour announced on Monday that the top-10 ranked players must play in top-tier events at Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing or face sanctions, including suspension from the next two premium tournaments.
Under the current schedule it would mean the Williams sisters, who are hugely popular in Miami, could be banned from competing in what they consider their home tournament.