At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, the action on the stadium courts featured up and coming WTA players. The seeded players were taking advantage of a day off thanks to receiving a bye in the first round.
Other stadium court matches featured a sprinkling of ATP players finishing up the men’s qualifying rounds. The men’s main draw is yet to get underway, with action starting Thursday and the big guns hitting the courts Friday.
With lower ranked players on the stadium courts, the place to be for many fans was out by the practice courts.
Well, Roger Federer was drawing a huge crowd while he practiced with local favorite, Sam Querrey. After the two hit, they played a practice set. Federer did a very Federer-like thing and served an ace to get things going. He held serve at love before forcing Querrey to struggle to hold his first service game.
Federer looked good. His strokes were amazingly relaxed, yet at the same time his energy level was high. There was a constant smile on his face as he bounced on his toes between points, sharing the occasional joke with a member of his entourage.
While in a match Federer looks relaxed, focused and confident, in practice he looks so relaxed he gives off the aura that he might at anytime attempt the impossible and stun the large gathering of fans by hitting the un-hittable shot. The problem for his hitting partner in such a situation, is that Federer is going to make that shot, impossible or not, and all everyone can do is applaud and smile.
Querrey looked like he was having a good time, too. At least until the points started, then he sharpened his focus in order to deal with the Federerness that was unfolding before him.
On the court next to them the ever glamorous, Maria Sharapova was drawing her own large crowd. Working hard in the 80+ degree heat, her practice consisted of hitting, point play and a solid 20 minutes of backhand drills to finish things off.
Just across the walkway, Novak Djokovic was getting in a friendly soccer match with Andy Murray on the extensive grass workout area to the side of the courts — one of the many features the players love about this tournament.
Djokovic and Murray each took to their own individual practices, but other players such as defending BNP Paribas Open champion, Ivan Ljubicic and WTA veteran, Daniela Hantuchova quickly took up residence on the lawn as each went through their own individual warm-ups and workout routines.
With gorgeous weather, the biggest names in tennis on the practice courts and the journeymen and women battling the up and comers on the stadium courts, today was definitely the perfect start to the 2011 BNP Paribas Open.
If you make it out to the tournament this year, be sure to swing by the Tennis Warehouse tent and say hi.