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Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki given wild cards for Indian Wells 2024

Published at :February 15, 2024 at 6:55 PM
Modified at :February 15, 2024 at 6:55 PM
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(Courtesy : Eurosport/Sky Sports)

Mohammed Fazeel

This will be Venus Williams’ first tennis appearance since the 2023 US Open.

The Indian Wells 2024 WTA 1000 kick-off the Sunshine Double on March 6, concluding a fortnight later. Two former World No. 1s, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, have accepted wildcard entries into the BNP Paribas Open main draw scheduled for next month.

Venus Williams is yet to lift the trophy in California, coming close on three occasions when the now 43-year-old reached the semifinals thrice in 1998, 2001, and finally in 2018. Williams will be returning to the WTA 1000 event after five years, having last competed in 2019. She lost to eventual runner-up Angelique Kerber in straight sets that season.

Her appearance in Indian Wells will also mark her return to tennis for the first since the 2023 US Open, where Greet Minnen posted an emphatic 6-1, 6-1 win in the first round over the seven-time singles Grand Slam champion.

Caroline Wozniacki joins former champions Victoria Azarenka, Paula Badosa, Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek in what is her first Indian Wells appearance since 2019. The Dane is a three-time finalist, reaching the summit clash in 2010, 2011, and 2013. She won the trophy in 2011 against France’s Marion Bartoli in three sets.

Wozniacki’s first major Grand Slam event after a three-year hiatus was the 2023 US Open, where she reached the fourth round. A wildcard entry into the main draw of the 2024 Australian Open ended prematurely when she lost to 20-year-old qualifier Maria Timofeeva despite convincingly taking the first set to lose in three. She lifted the trophy at Melbourne in 2018 for what remains her sole Grand Slam win.

WTA World No. 1 Iga Swiatek will head to the Indian Wells Tennis hoping to reclaim the 2022 crown she lost to Elena Rybakina, after bowing out against the Kazakh in straight sets. Rybakina will be returning as the defending champion, and along with Swiatek, Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula, and Aryna Sabalenka will be headlining the two-week-long tournament.

The entire women’s entourage of top 10 players will be heading to California for the first of two WTA 1000 events to be played in March – the other being at Miami beginning March 19th.

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Gauff and Pegula represent the best chance for an American winner at Indian Wells for the first time since Serena Williams in 2001. Gauff’s year took off well with a win at Auckland and a semi-final appearance at the Australian Open. But she suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Katerina Siniakova in straight sets in the ongoing Qatar Open. 

The players who come through the qualifying rounds between March 3 and 5 will take up the remaining spots in the main draw as well as other wildcard recipients.

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