By Rick Riozza
The annual BNP Paribas Tennis Tournament continues this week at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. And the weather couldn’t be nicer with the remaining snow still showing on our surrounding mountains which adds to the international vibe of this venerable and most popular international sport. Tennis Everyone?
Of course, this public event, whether you know it or not, draws in more money to the businesses here in the Coachella Valley than any other: it’s estimated that this two-week tennis tournament brings in over 550 million dollars distributed out our valley to restaurants, hotels & lodging, transportation, and all-around tourist shopping. Coachella & Stagecoach, together, almost bring in the same amount of people—around 450,000. But the tennis fans seem to have deeper pockets when it comes to tourist dollars.
And for the new 2023 tennis season—we’re watching a major changing of the guard a.k.a. so many new & excellent players—including many Americans, dominating this sport scene. The new generation of elite men’s tennis players is exciting and bringing more tennis attention to our young sports enthusiasts.
GQ has just written, “For the better part of the past two decades, tennis was dominated by the so-called The Big Three: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. From 2004 to last year’s US Open, the trio won 62 out of 75 grand slams, those historic and moneyed tournaments that make or break legacies. But by the end of last year, Federer had retired, Nadal had begun to grapple with ever-more-frequent injuries, and an unvaccinated Djokovic’s major appearances had become contingent on travel rules and restrictions.”
So who’s going to be the guy out of the new group to win a grand slam, and then continue to win grand slams and be at the top of the game?” The crop of players in contention to be that guy has arrived like an answered prayer.
Taylor Fritz, a 25-year-old baseliner from San Diego—who considers this Indian Wells tournament to be his “home court”, is one of the current rising stars to be playing at championship level. Fritz’s forehand is now one of the “biggest” in the game. Another American, Francis Tiafoe, has recently commented that the gap between the top players and the rest of the field has all but vanished. “It’s getting wild, man,” he said. “If you don’t come correct, you can get it from anybody.”
Pretty much every tennis fan has watched Raphael Nadal play at an incredible level for over the past fifteen years. But as the hard-courts through the years have taken him down physically—he’s still the best clay-court player in men’s history, the new young Spaniard to perhaps take Nadal’s place is Carlos Alcaraz. He’s got all of Nadal’s energy and the great tutelage of another great Spanish player, Juan Carlos Ferrero, as Alcaraz’s coach.
On the women’s tour, there are so many great competitors: in the perfect tennis world, we’d love to see: Iga Swiatek vs. Bianca Andreescu, Paula Badosa vs. Elena Rybakina, Coco Gauff vs. Amanda Anisimova, and Caty McNally vs. Leylah Fernandez, among so many others, just in the quarter-finals!
Tickets for the remaining quarter-finals, semi-finals, and men and women’s championship final are all available at bnpparibasopen.com/tickets/single-session-tickets.
And now: some wine, beverage & dining to consider:
Of course as the weather is heating up for the remainder of the tournament, we’re only thinking of quenching our wine thirsts with a nice flute or bottle of a Moët & Chandon Brut or Rosé. And, well—you can actually enjoy Champagne all day long at the Moët & Chandon Circle of Palms. It’s a beautiful setting. It’s a much prettier and classier Champagne pavilion than the one they have over at the French Open! Over there, you have smaller huts around. Here—the circle of palms is almost an event in itself just to be hanging out!
If you’re feeling Italian, then get over to the Veroni Lounge. The Official Italian Charcuterie Sponsor of the BNP Paribas Open host tennis lovers all tournament long at the Tennis Garden, where spectators will be able to relax and cool off while enjoying delicious drinks and charcuterie boards crafted with their authentic Italian deli meats.
Agave Bar – Sip on a margarita and enjoy some chips and salsa in this stylish cocktail lounge on the southeast side of Stadium 2.
And speaking of Stadium 2, I’m of the opinion that this court is surrounded with the best food smells and aromas of any tennis court in the world. We have world class restaurants facing the court and serving up their delicious fare. Actually, it takes a little getting used to—watching a 130mph serve whilst smelling a grilled New York steak.
There’s the Corona Premier Pavilion & Bar, where you can sip an ice-cold Corona Premier while listening to live entertainment on the Village Stage.
Blanco and Reposado fans will want to check out the Maestro Dobel Tequila Pavilion, where they’re serving specialty Maestro Dobel Tequila cocktails, beer, wine and other beverages near Stadium 2.
As to the restaurant scene, Bistro 88. Food Network star Jet Tila is bringing his culinary brilliance to Stadium 1 with a brand-new restaurant concept that offers exquisite dining and great views of the on-court action.
Of course we love Nobu Indian Wells where we can 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 taste buds as you watch the on-court action in Stadium 2.
Tennis Everyone! See you there—Cheers!