When the Legends Arrive to Palm Springs, the Crowds Flock to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden
Written By: Nick Pachelli Game, Set, Match! Behind the Scenes of the BNP Paribas Open
Photo Credit: Billie Weiss/BNP Paribas Open
Every year, one of the biggest sporting events in California graces Indian Wells, California: The BNP Paribas Open. Legends including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams dominate the courts and duke it out for major world tour points while hundreds of thousands of spectators and celebrities watch in awe. In the desert, the temperatures can be trying as the tournament runs in early March (March 7-20 this year), but the Indian Wells Tennis Garden keeps players and spectators cool and entertained at one of tennis’ most prestigious events. Here is an inside look at the BNP Paribas Open.
Welcome to the Garden
The Indian Wells Tennis Garden covers 54 acres packed with 29 world-class courts and eight acres of exposition space. It’s also home to world-famous Japanese restaurant Nobu.
Last year, the total attendance topped out at 456, 672 people. And although we don’t know for sure how many will show up in 2016, with the expected player lineup including greats like Williams and Federer, that number will certainly go up.
From attending the tournament yourself you’ll realize just how much of a community is built around the tournament in both its volunteers and spectators. Many visitors to Indian Wells Tennis Garden have been attending the tournament for years and are passing the tradition down to younger generations. It’s not uncommon to see groups of people wandering the grounds knowing exactly where they’re headed at every moment—the garden is a legacy.
Keeping the Lights On
The BNP Paribas Open is such a fluid and relaxed event thanks to over 1, 200 volunteers who staff various positions around the grounds from checking your tickets to opening the gates to ushering you to your courtside seats.
The Ball Kids
One of the best parts for many at professional tournaments is realizing that there are over eight ball kids running around stadium court catering to the needs of the players. These ball kids apply for the spots and attend four training sessions leading up to the tournament and work a minimum of five sessions at the tournament. Keep an eye on these kids and watch how fast their reflexes are as they dodge and snatch tennis balls moving at over 120 miles per hour!
Keep Your Eye on the Ball
This is the only professional tennis event currently to provide the Hawkeye line challenge system on all match courts. Did you know players can challenge calls on the court and use a digital system to track the exact spot where the ball landed down to millimeters? Crazy, right?
The World’s Best Athletes
Every year, more than 300 of the best players in the world—we’re talking world number ones on both men’s and women’s sides—travel to compete for more than $10 million in prize money at the BNP Paribas Open.
Secret: Where to Find the Players
All the players have their own warm up routine, but buy a day pass during the early rounds of the tournament and hang out around the soccer field. Many players warm up here by passing a ball around with their coaches, jogging or stretching. They also sign plenty of autographs here.
Big Time Tennis = Big Time Stadiums
Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is the second largest stadium in the world—second to the US Open’s Arthur Ashe Stadium. The stadium includes over 16, 000 seats overlooking center court. It also has 44 luxury suites, press rooms, locker rooms and on-court broadcast booth.
Celebrity Sighting: Celebs love tennis! Guests from year’s past include Kevin Spacey, Ben Stiller, Kate Walsh, Gladys Knight and Gwen Stefani.
T E N N I S /// Legends Are Arriving in Indian Wells. Here’s a Look Behind the Scenes of One of the World’s Biggest Tournaments.