By Rick Riozza
The entire tennis world—well, at least those here in the Coachella Valley, is now welcoming back the “5th Grand Slam in the Desert” aka BNP Paribas Open Tennis Tournament. Since being canceled in 2020 and again early this year, this famed Indian Wells tournament has wonderfully returned for its two-week play—and the world class professional tennis players are now playing as we speak/write/read!
The big talk, of course, is the appearance here of the two young women, Emma Raducanu and Leyla Fernandez, who appeared at the U.S. Open tennis championships last month and absolutely won our hearts as they won all of their matches to get to the tournament final—with Raducanu winning in a full three set match. Terrific play!
And most of the top 50 women players in the world will be competing as well, including Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek and Karolina Pliskova, all who have been tearing up the courts with their winning strokes.
As to the men’s draw, this time of year after all the four Grand Slams have played, we’ve got some big names not entering due to injuries and other issues. No problem here, this BNP Paribas Open will feature 16 of the Top 20 players in the FedEX ATP Rankings led by Danil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, and Matteo Berrettini. And as with the last tournaments here, the tournament director is former World No. 2 Tommy Haas.
For all info on the players, the draws, and all the current play, simply go to bnpparibasopen.com and click on the link to what you wish to read, from ticket sales to on-premises restaurants. Easy enough!
For tennis players and non-players who have not visited this beautiful Coachella venue, it’s on the bucket list of places to go and see in this Palm Springs’ surrounds. What this column will now alert you to are the venues that are supplying the thirsty world contained here at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. For your convenience, we’ve listed the beverage & eateries by name so you can simply ask any grounds staff for directions of the spot you’re looking to check out.
As with most years here at the Tennis Garden, we have the Moët & Chandon Circle of Palms, where one can enjoy champagne all day long at this beautiful setting. I think Moët & Chandon cover’s most of the Grand Slam tournaments around the globe. I certainly enjoyed their Brut Rosé Champagne over at the Rolands Garros French Open in Paris (what great memories to be able to travel) back in June 2019.
So at the Moët & Chandon Circle of Palms, there is seating every which way: You can enjoy your Champagne at the bar, on tables on the grass, in mini-cabanas, or you can take the (plastic) Champagne flutes along as you walk about the venue.
Kim Crawford Clubhouse: The new Kim Crawford Clubhouse is located in the Food Village, and serves up classic wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and Pinot Noir, as well as their popular signature frozen Kim Crawford Ace Frosé cocktail.
Sipsmith London Bar: Try the signature “Smith Your G&T” – a classic gin and tonic from the new Official Gin Partner of the BNP Paribas Open, Sipsmith London Dry Gin.
Corona Premier Pavilion & Bar: Sip an ice-cold Corona Premier while listening to live entertainment on the Village Stage.
Agave: Sip on a margarita and enjoy some chips and salsa in this new cocktail lounge on the southeast side of Stadium 2. New for October, order any of their specialty margaritas and receive a complimentary order of chips and salsa!
Paradise Pavilion: Serving specialty cocktails, beer, wine, and other beverages near Stadium 2
Corona Oasis: A selection of local craft beer as well as French dips and snacks located on the loge level of Stadium.
And for you coffee & tea folks, check out Mostly Roasted: Located in the Food Village, Mostly Roasted will offer hot and cold brewed coffee as well as espresso beverages and gelato from local Southern California roaster Joshua Tree Coffee, as well as fresh Tazo iced teas and more.
The restaurant scene is the venue’s loyal eateries:
Nobu: Enjoy critically acclaimed cuisine exquisitely prepared by James Beard chef, Nobu Matsuhisa. His signature blend of traditional Japanese dishes with South American ingredients will satiate your tastebuds as you keep an eye on the on-court action in Stadium 2.
Spago: Experience a world-class dining experience in Wolfgang Puck’s award-winning Spago restaurant, featuring the best in Beverly Hills-style Californian cuisine. Dine in delight while watching tennis with unprecedented views of Stadium 1.
Piero’s PizzaVino: Indulge in authentic Neapolitan pizza, made with all-natural, traditional flavors straight from Italy. As your pizza is expertly prepared in an 800-degree wood-burning oven, relax on the outdoor patio area and sip a glass of wine as you overlook Stadium Plaza. Full menu also includes appetizers, sandwiches, salads, and entrees.
Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill: Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill is a local Palm Desert favorite offering a blend of traditional and contemporary Mexican cuisine at a full-service restaurant overlooking the court on Stadium 2. The menu features a variety of authentic Mexican dishes and a curated selection of high-quality cocktails, tequilas, and their famous margaritas.
Fortunately for this columnist, I cover not only wine, food & beverage, but tennis as well, as I have the titanium knees and new shoulder to show for a full life playing competitive tennis…. So, anyone for tennis? Cheers!