Today has been packed full of action at the BNP Paribas. And within minutes of each other, the oldest and youngest ladies of the tournament walked off the court in winning fashion.
American Taylor Townsend, ranked 471 on the WTA and just 16 years old, made her Indian Wells debut today. She opened up play on the main stadium by beating Lucie Hradecka 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-3. While 42 year-old veteran, Kimiko Date-Krumm, ranked 75 on the WTA, had a battle of her own over on court 8, coming out with a win over Galina Voskoboeva 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
As refreshing as it is to see the youth of American tennis show up to play Indian Wells this year, it is a nice surprise to see some of the more “mature” players continue to see success on the court. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m inching closer and closer to a birthday of my own and when I step on the court I’m quick to realize I’m not 18 anymore! I’m years from the golden days when I spent four hours playing and training a day, my footwork has slowed down by a step or two, I find myself reaching for ice packs and heat rub more often, my aches and pains are just daily reminders that I have spent my life as a tennis player but they certainly don’t hinder me from getting on the court. However, the best part of getting older as a tennis player is becoming wiser. If only I knew back then what I know now!
Pair the older, more experienced players with the new technology that our game continues to offer and age quickly becomes just a state of mind! In today’s game, players have so many more choices on racquets, strings, even apparel and shoes that will help make them to be better, faster, and stronger. And if that doesn’t continue to help them stay competitive, the new technology we are seeing in the training world off the court continues to help athletes work more effectively, spending less time putting stress on their joints. And not to mention the mental capacity of the veteran tour players. Can you imagine the matches Kimiko Date-Krumm had before Taylor Townsend was even walking?! Experience is an advantage not to be overlooked.
So no more making excuses on the court about your age – tennis is a sport for life and age is just a number!
Play with heart (and enjoy the BNP),
Four former top-five ranked players along with rising American stars highlight the list of players granted wildcards into next week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA. David Nalbandian, Tommy Robredo, Jakes Blake and Kimiko Date-Krumm have all at one point in their careers been ranked inside the top 5 in the world rankings. Up and coming Americans Tim Smyczek, Steve Johnson, Madison Keys, Maria Sanchez, Melanie Oudin and Taylor Townsend will all have their chance to take down some of the world’s best as well with guaranteed admittance into the main draw. Rounding out the wildcards on the women’s side are Shahar Peer, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Kristina Mladenovic.
“This year’s main draw wildcards span from seasoned veterans, to rising American and international stars to those returning from injury,” said tournament direction Steve Simon in a recent press release. “Awarding wildcards to players like David Nalbandian, James Blake, Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend add to the allure of early-round matches for fans and provide the potential for these deserving athletes to break through and make a move up their respective Tour’s rankings.”
Some notables among the players awarded wildcards into the qualifying draw are former top-ten player Andrea Petkovic, UCLA standout Dennis Novikov and up and coming Americans Christian Harrison, Jack Sock, Rhyne Williams and Grace Min.
Players begin battling in the qualifying draw Monday, March 4 for a berth in the main draw that begins on Thursday the 7th. The BNP Paribas Open is the largest ATP World Tour and WTA combined two-week event in the world, offering more than $12 million in prize money.
Thanks for reading!