Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Night To Remember

by Savannah

Emotions Julian Finney Getty Images photo 1270c7ba-61eb-426a-bd84-96a1a2e7a397_zpsqwahgtey.jpg
Julian Finney Getty Images North America

For the first time during the first five days of the BNPParibas Open (including Qualifying) at Indian Wells there was a packed house. The tension was palpable. What would happen when Serena Williams walked onto Center Court ending her families 14 year boycott of the event? Would there be cheers? Would some "fans" boo or give a less than friendly greeting? Tennis fans can be a surly lot when they want to be.

Harry How Getty Images North America photo 68c5a275-2a74-4233-a746-ca6c7c5d6a2b_zpshkgxavws.jpg
Harry How Getty Images North America

It was not a moment any fan of tennis would miss for the world. And it seemed that those who packed the stands wanted to make sure the Williams family knew that they were not the same rabid bunch that devastated a 19 year old girl with racist insults and implying horrible things about her father. They welcomed her with open arms and Serena, who likes to project an ice queen image, was caught up in the emotion.

Harry How Getty Images North America photo ffc49476-2561-420f-83d1-b20a562d8b4c_zpsqgs7olsk.jpg
Harry How Getty Images North America

I stood in my living room crying. My daughter was crying. Jill, Isha and most of the people in Serena's box were either in tears or bleary eyed. We can only speculate what Oracene, her eyes behind dark glasses, her face immobile, thought. It's said that Richard was there. And Sascha was seen leaving the court area after Serena made her entrance.

 photo Julian FinneyGetty Images North America_zpsemzzb353.jpg
Julian Finney Getty Images North America

It was not an easy return match for Serena. Her opponent, Monica Niculescu of Romania, barely serves above 80mph and dares you to make her hit the ball directly. Serena did it enough times to win in straight sets of 7-5, 7-5.

How much did this match echo around the world?

Billionaires Row +1 photo 0c42e55c-e3f2-4147-afe6-d8ed639cb017_zpsx2m1yox2.png

These guys showed up and sat front row. They haven't had much good to say about each other for awhile but there they were flanking John McEnroe who was rocking a purple paisley shirt I had hoped not to ever see again. It was a night for healing.

And a man known as King James sent this message along: LeBron James @KingJames · 12h 12 hours ago
Pride or Progress... Which one will u choose? Congrats @serenawilliams at Indian Wells. Keep it going…

Serena left the court with a wave and a slight smile.

 photo Leaving Harry HowGetty Images North America_zpsdyxpw5uv.jpg
Harry How Getty Images North America

Later it was revealed that Lindsay Davenport broke down in tears along with many others seeing Serena walk back onto Center Court. It was a night that many, many people will remember in tennis for a long time. As Lebron James said it came down to pride or progress. As they always have the Williams family chose progress.

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