The fifth grand slam? BNP Paribas Open

TENNIS PARADISE: a view of Indian Wells Tennis Garden’s 29 courts, including the center court, which can hold 16,000 people. (IndianWellsTennisGarden)

Jordyn Banks | Writer

March 12, 2023

Tennis is growing rapidly. Maybe not faster than pickleball, but rapidly nonetheless. Although the sport’s popularity declined from 2010 to 2019, when COVID hit, it reignited love for the sport. Since then, the number of people playing and watching tennis has increased. On Sunday, Netflix released the first-ever “Netflix Slam,” a live event in which Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz faced off in Las Vegas. In the past year, Netflix released BreakPoint, a tennis reality series. The fact that tennis, a sport that is too often overlooked, is being broadcasted on media giants like Netflix, shows a cultural reset in which people are beginning to again care about tennis. 

“I think that it is great that more people are watching and playing tennis, and how tennis is showing up more in mainstream media like Netflix,” senior and girls varsity tennis player Ava Martinez explained. “I hope that new shows like BreakPoint will inspire people to watch more tennis,” she added. 

This growth of tennis may explain why so many eager fans are racing to the desert this March.

TENNIS FANS: getting their merch signed at the Indian Wells tennis tournament. (Desertsun)

In the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, the most attended tennis tournament (outside the four major grand slams) is underway. The BNP Paribas Open, also known as the Indian Wells tennis tournament, has the second-largest permanent tennis stadium– an incredible facility that held roughly 475,000 people in 2019. This tournament is like the Coachella music festival but for tennis fans. It is so popular that many consider it the “fifth grand slam.” 

This year at Indian Wells was particularly significant because many looked forward to Rafael Nadal’s return after taking a break due to his hip injuries. Unfortunately, Nadal’s injury forced him to back out just as the tournament began. However, despite Nadal deciding to leave the competition, there are still many incredible players who you don’t want to miss. 

Junior and boys varsity tennis player Xandon Reid, who recently went to Indian Wells along with the SCHS tennis teams, explained, “I am disappointed that Nadal has dropped out because I wanted to watch him play, but I hope he recovers soon so he can continue playing. I also look forward to seeing Austin Krajinek, Rohan Bopanna, and Matthew Ebden. I go to Indian Wells yearly, and there are always amazing matches.” 

Novak Djokovic has returned to Indian Wells for the first time since 2019. He aims to win a sixth record title and surpass Roger Federer, as they both hold five titles each. Other notable players coming to compete include Venus Williams, who will make her 2024 season debut, and Naomi Osaka, who is returning from maternity leave.

Main draw matches start on Wednesday, March 6. Tune in to watch on the Tennis Channel, or if you are lucky enough to go, have fun!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.