INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - For the first time in 14-months, Serena Williams will be returning to the WTA tour at the BNP Paribas Open. She took a leave of absence from the game surrounding the birth of her daughter. Williams joins an elite singles entry field which includes eight former BNP Paribas Open Champions.
The former champions returning to the Indian Wells tournament include Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Elena Vesnina, Caroline Wozniacki, and Serena Williams. Serena is a two-time BNP Paribas Open champion, taking home titles in 1999 and 2001.
Venus Williams, currently ranked No. 5 in the world, will join her sister in the tournament this year. The elder Williams sister made an impressive run to the quarterfinals last year, before falling to Elena Vesnina, the eventual tournament champion.
Djokovic and Federer are both battling for their record sixth wins at the BNP Open. Federer, the defending champion, holds a stellar record at the tournament, with 57 wins and five titles spanning two decades (2004-2006, 2012, 2017). Djokovic took titles in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, and 2016.
The tournament will take place from March 5-18 at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.