Serena Williams leads entry list for BNP Paribas tennis tournament

Serena Williams plays in the Australian Open in Melbourne on Jan. 28, 2017.
(Paul Crock / AFP/Getty Images)

Serena Williams, who has not competed on the women’s tennis tour since the 2017 Australian Open, is among the entrants for the BNP Paribas Open, to be held March 5-18 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, has won the Indian Wells title twice. She reached the semifinals in 2015 and the final in 2016. Organizers announced the entry list on Wednesday.

Since leaving the tour because of her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter, Alexis, Williams has played one exhibition match, losing to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi in December. She’s scheduled to compete for the U.S. in Fed Cup play Feb. 10-11 at Asheville, N.C.


Williams won last year’s Australian Open while in the early stages of her pregnancy and had planned to play in this year’s event but withdrew because she said her fitness level wasn’t where she had hoped it would be. After the baby’s birth via an emergency C-section, Williams had complications that included blood clots in her lungs.

The BNP Paribas Open, often referred to as the fifth Slam, will award more than $14 million in prize money. Here’s a link to the entry list.

Roger Federer, who has reached the semifinals of this year’s Australian Open and is a five-time champion at Indian Wells, also is among the entrants. So is Novak Djokovic, also a five-time winner at the desert tournament. The world’s top-ranked woman, Simona Halep of Romania, and top-ranked man, Rafael Nadal of Spain, also are entered.

The remaining spots in the draws will go to the winners of a qualifying tournament that will be held March 5-7 and the Oracle Challenger Series, as well as to wildcards that will be announced in the coming weeks.