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Serena Williams withdraws from BNP Paribas Open

Feb. 8, 2014 at 7:47 PM
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INDIAN WELLS, Calif., Feb. 8 (UPI) -- World No. 1 Serena Williams, after expressing an interest in returning to the tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., has withdrawn from the event.

"After careful consideration, I will not return to the Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open this year," Williams said in a statement released by the tournament Friday. "I send my best wishes to everyone involved with the tournament."

Tournament Director Steve Simon said: "We are disappointed that Serena has withdrawn from the 2014 BNP Paribas Open. We wish her the very best of luck in the year ahead and hope that she will decide to play here next year."

Williams has boycotted the event since 2001, when she and her family were heckled by a hostile crowd during her three-set win in the final over Kim Clijsters. Sister Venus Williams had withdrawn from a semifinal match against Serena due to a knee injury.

The BNP Paribas Open is set for March 3-16.

While she didn't provide a reason for her withdraw from Indian Wells, Williams also said Friday she wouldn't play the Qatar Open Feb. 10-16 due to a back injury she sustained at the Australian Open in January.

Williams beat Victoria Azarenka in the final of the season-opening event at Brisbane, Australia, before falling in an upset to Serbian Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round in Melbourne.

The reigning U.S. and French Open champion's next Grand Slam event is the French Open in May.

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