Venus Williams' return to Indian Wells thrills tournament officials

Venus Williams, the older of the two tennis superstar sisters, is following Serena's decision of a year ago by also deciding to return to Indian Wells.

"We are thrilled that Venus Williams, one of the greatest women's players in the history of the game, is returning to play in the BNP Paribas Open," tournament CEO Raymond Moore said Wednesday. "Our fans embraced Serena last year, and we expect nothing less for Venus when she returns to compete at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden."

Venus, 35, said at several times last year that she would consider a return in 2016. Last March, Serena played her first match at Indian Wells in 14 years and received a warm welcome from the fans, a sharp contrast to the booing that drove her away as a teenager.

Serena Williams had stayed away from the tournament since winning the 2001 title as a 19-year-old, getting booed by the fans for what happened a day earlier, when she was to play Venus in a semifinal and Venus withdrew because of injury 20 minutes before the start.

Venus Williams had also boycotted the tournament since that time. In 2001, her father said he heard racial taunts from the crowd, and there was speculation that he dictated which sister would win their meetings.

"It was wonderful to see," Venus said last year of Serena's return in 2015. "I definitely watched every moment, and it was great to see her and my family there."