Indian Wells is a magical desert oasis vacation destination located just outside of Palm Springs, California. Home to 350 days of sunshine, world-class, luxurious accommodations, full-service spa facilities, elegant dining, award wining golf course, and the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. It is a fun and revitalizing getaway. These are all excellent reasons to visit Indian Wells. But, the best way that GTN can answer the question at hand is simple...Indian Wells is synonymous with a fabulous tennis tournament officially known as the BNP Paribas Open.
My first visit to the BNP Paribas Open was in 2012 with the man who taught me the game as a young 8 year old boy, my very own dad. At the time Rafael Nadal and Victoria Azarenka were both ranked #1 in the world and I had the privilege of watching them play in a Stadium 1 box suite. On top of that a WTA pro paid us a visit and engaged in a photo op with her fans. The weather was ideal, with temperatures typically hovering around the 70's, the grounds were beautifully landscaped, and match play was top notch. I even came home with a sweet souvenir, my flashy Nike 'Rafa' warm-up jacket which later caught the eye of a cute brown eyed girl at Einstein Bagel that I now call my girlfriend.
If you have not been to a professional tennis tournament to see the speed and power of the pro game in person now is the time to start making plans. Watching tennis on television does not do any justice to the athleticism players demonstrate on court. The Open begins March 5th and runs thru the 18th in 2018. A fun discovery I made attending last year is that the qualifying rounds are free. That's right, free! And, if you want to get close to the players check out the smaller stadiums and practice courts. I frequently found myself leaning over the court closer to the action then I ever thought possible. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
What players did I see? Marin Cilic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del-Potro, Jack Sock, Milos Raonic, John Isner, Richard Gasquet, Garbine Muguruza, Agnieszka Radwanska, Eugenie Bouchard, Simona Halep, Dominika Cibulkova, Elena Vesnina, Martina Hingis and so many more! Where should you sit? I have found that sitting along the baseline is best. This will give you the finest look at a serve barreling towards you at incredible speeds. Buy a general admission grounds pass and bounce from one court to the next. Cheer on your favorite players. You might even catch a wayward tennis ball like I did.
So, what history will you get to witness at Indian Wells? What amazing shot will leave you speechless? What pro's will you see? What souvenir and memories will you take home with you? Go once and I promise you will return. We are living in arguably the greatest era of tennis ever. Don't let it pass you by.
Fun Facts about the BNP Paribas Open
- The Indian Wells Tennis Garden features the second largest stadium in the world with 16,100 seats and 44 luxurious suites as well as Stadium 2 with 8,000 seats
- The BNP Paribas Open is the largest professional two-week combined ATP and WTA Tour tennis tournament in the world
- The tournament offers more than $10 million in prize money with each of the Champions earning a $1 million prize purse.
- Most-attended WTA Premier and ATP Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament in the world
- In 2016, more than 438,000 people attended the event and over 350 media from all over the world covered the BNP Paribas Open.
- It is the only professional tournament in the world that provides Hawkeye, the official line-challenge system for players, on all match courts for both main and qualifying rounds
- Past Champions include: Roger Federer 5x - Novak Djokovic 5x - Rafael Nadal 3x - Serena Williams 2x - Maria Sharapova 2x
- Serena & Venus Williams boycotted the event from 2001-2014 after accusations of match fixing
- Tournament started as an ATP fundraising event in Tucson, Arizona before moving to Mission Hills Country Club in Coachella Valley in 1976 and has had 8 different names throughout the years