A right knee injury has ended Serena Williams’ bid at a fairytale BNP Paribas Open title, forcing the world number one to withdraw from the semi-finals.
In 2001, Williams was set to play sister Venus in the semi-finals at Indian Wells – but the latter withdrew due to a knee injury, amid reports the siblings rigged results of their matches.
The resultant backlash from fans at the stadium, which included racial taunts directed at the sisters and father Richard, saw Williams bypass the tournament for 14 years, with 2015 marking her first time back at the WTA Premier event in California.
Ahead of her semi-final against Simona Halep on Friday, Williams pulled out from the contest due to injury.
Appearing on court, Williams flagged she would return to Indian Wells in 2016.
“A couple of days ago in my practice, I just really injured my knee and I fought through it, and I kept playing,” Williams said.
“Today, I was struggling just to even walk.
“It was really sad because I really felt four months ago I decided to start this journey to come back here at a place I’ve had so much success.
“And it’s been a wonderful journey and I have to say I’m so excited to have been able to come out here and to start to build so many wonderful new memories, and I can only promise to come back next year and play right here on this court in front of you guys.
“It would be my pleasure.”