March 13, 2018

BNP Paribas Open

I'm a casual, ok very casual, tennis fan. I know a few of the top names and know the scoring system. That's about it. K on the other hand, is closer to a true tennis fan. She's been following Roger Federer throughout his career and vowed to see him play in person before he retires. There happens to be a tournament over in Indian Wells, CA each year that he frequents. We made it a point this year to go check it out.
The annual BNP Paribas Open.
The tricky part about this type of event is not knowing when a player is going to have a match. For starters, they have to keep winning to move on. The tournaments early rounds are split between day & evening sessions too. Stadium #1 is for the elite players, like Roger, and cost more. We opted for a grounds pass for the first day to soak in the scene. We then took a gamble that Roger would be playing an evening set on Monday, so we bought upper lever stadium #1 seats.
We stumbled into fantastic Mexican food in Blythe, CA.

Artwork at the tennis complex.
We were now inside with our grounds passes in hand. Those gave us virtually free range to check out any ongoing match in any court other than stadium #1. We also obtained the practice schedule for the afternoon. Everything you needed for the day was inside the complex, plenty of food vendors, drinks and of course souvenirs.

Updated practice schedule.

Roger was playing on the big screen outside stadium #1.

Stadium #2 wasn't half bad. Here, we watched US player Sloan Stephens wrap up her match, advancing over a past champion, Victoria Azarenka.

Practice courts with a view.

The players crossed here, often doing other types of workout drills.

Juan Martin del Potro, the eventual tournament champion.

Making a fan happy.

A series of past champions banners were hanging around the center of the complex.

Roger has won his fair share here.

Back in stadium #2, we caught a bit of Marin Cilic.

Cilic in yellow.
We really had a blast checking out the matches and witnessing the raw power of the pros. During dinner K learned that Roger would be playing again the following day, but our gamble to see him at night in stadium #1 wouldn't pan out. He was scheduled for a day match. She scoured around online looking for any cheap tickets to the match. Nothing was available except a couple of higher end seats. We mulled it over a bit and decided to go for it. A few clicks later we had tickets to see Roger play. To say K was a bit excited was a gross understatement. She was finally going to see him play LIVE and hopefully not requiring binoculars!!

We drove up CA74 to a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Imperial Valley.

We found good eats in Palm Springs for breakfast.

Better parking on day 2 led us into the complex via bat tunnel.

Walking down to our seats, row G...ended up being the third row!! Awesome!!
We watched the end of Caroline Wozniacki's winning match.

Then K got super excited as Roger came out for his match against Filip Krajinovic.

Bucket list: check.

In game return from Roger.

We were close enough to hear the players give themselves pep talks during the match.

It was quite a treat to see Federer play up close, but the match flew by with  Roger winning in 58 minutes!!

More post match interviews.

Lunchtime at the complex.
We still had access to our great seats inside stadium #1 before our evening session tickets kicked in, so we headed back in to watch another match. As luck would have it, there was a local player from Rancho Mirage, Taylor Fritz, playing next. The crowd was clearly cheering loudly for him and we think a few of his buddies were sitting a few rows behind us since they were extremely vocal!!
Fritz vs. Verdasco.

The Spaniard looked in control during the first set.

Taylor seemed a bit out of it after dropping the first set.

He made a strong comeback in the second and forced a third set which went to a tie-breaker.

Taylor Fritz for the win!! It turned out to be an exciting match and lasted a bit over 2 hours.

We lucked out and were able to see the Williams sisters battle it out next, but our prime seat location wasn't going to last.

Serena makes her entrance.

Followed by Venus.

Pre-match photo, then we headed up to our seats...

Glad we didn't watch Roger's match from up here!!

It was still cool to see the Williams sisters go head-to-head. Venus took the win on this night.

There was a large banner outside stadium #1 with an updated bracket for all the matches.

Already updated with Roger's win over Krajinovic 6-2, 6-1.

Felt like a block watch party.

I have a feeling we'll be back.

We did a little walking around Palm Springs the next morning, grabbing some toffee here.

Oh yeah, bikes. I like bikes.

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