BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells

Date attended: Friday March 20, 2015
Seats: Row D, Seats 1, 2

BNP Paribas Open – The Tennis Fan Experience

We’ll come right out and say it…the BNP Paribas Open may be our favorite tennis tournament. The location is great, the grounds are amazing and the tournament is well attended by the top players (it really is the “5th” Slam – don’t kid yourself Miami). It’s just further proof that all sports franchises, whether that’s a team or an event, should be run by a billionaire who is willing to spend a bit of money!  The money that has been spent to make this a top tournament is obvious, besides just the prize money.

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Christine at the BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, 2015

We had tickets on center court for the Men’s quarter-finals, and in the front row behind the baseline was Larry Ellison. Sure, he could have been at the office running Oracle, a ~$40 billion dollar company, but no, he was out watching the tennis at his tournament. We’re almost surprised he doesn’t close the doors and make this a private exhibition for himself, but capitalism won over and tickets are made available to all.

When we have the choice, our preference is always to attend the quarter-finals or middle-rounds. They are the best bang for your buck in terms of price (usually) and number of singles matches you get to watch. This time we were able to watch Nadal – Raonic and Federer – Berdych. We just happened to be surrounded by other Canadian fans, so it was great to see Raonic come back to beat Nadal for the first time in his career. Our Canadian flag was waving proud. We even got to see Pospisil/Sock play their semi-final match against Zimonjic/Matkowski.

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Coin flip for Nadal vs Raonic, Qtr Final, BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, 2015

 

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Milos Raonic serving vs Nadal, Qtr Final, BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, 2015

 

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Nadal standing well behind the service line, returning vs Raonic, Qtr Final, BNP Paribas Open,Indian Wells, 2015

 

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Pospisil and Sock warming up at the BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, 2015

 

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Christine on Center Court, showing Canadian pride. BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, 2015

We can’t say enough about how great a tournament the BNP Paribas Open / Indian Wells is to attend. The location is great (although a bit remote – but it’s hot and sunny every day, so don’t knock it), the grounds are amazing with good food options, and the quality of tennis is top-tier.

Facilities

Granted, Indian Wells isn’t exactly a convenient location. 2.5 hrs from LA, or a shorter drive from Palm Springs. But the location allows for a large site, giving the entire event a spacious feel so you’re never claustrophobic. Parking was easy if you get there early, and close to the entrance. There is plenty of places to sit around the grounds, no line-ups at the washrooms, and taps with drinking water if you brought your own bottle.

Food

Once you’re on the grounds, there are many drink and food options to choose from including a Nobu (for those people who don’t feel they’d spent enough on the tickets and/or have an expense account). The BNP Paribas Open is definitely one of the best catered events we’ve been to, with a wide range of options.

Tips

  • This isn’t a cheap tournament, but we felt it was worth it. We bought our tickets through an online reseller, but obviously if you plan ahead and can buy them from the official site, all the better
  • The center court is the 2nd largest purpose-built tennis stadium in the world (after Arthur Ashe at the US Open). This means it is huge.  We splurged a bit to get good seats in the lower bowl whereas at some smaller tournaments that isn’t necessary
  • Rather than stay right in Indian Wells, we stayed in a much less expensive hotel in the Moreno Valley, Holiday Inn Express, about an hour from the tournament, thereby breaking up the drive between LA and Indian Wells
  • Even in March, temperatures can be HOT. Make sure you drink A LOT of water, bring a hat and sunscreen, and get into the shade when you need to cool down
  • To get there – drive. The only downside of the BNP Paribas Open is that it’s out in the middle of nowhere.  But yeah, it’s California in March – there are worse places to spend a vacation or a weekend, and you’re only a couple of hours drive from either LA or San Diego if you want to make a trip out of it

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