Beginner’s guide to the BNP Paribas Open

Before you continue reading, answer these questions. Do you like tennis? Do you like to have fun? Do you like nice, warm weather? If you answered yes to all the above, then you should love the BNP Paribas Open! The unofficial 5th grand slam. Located in Indian Wells, CA, the BNP Paribas features the world’s best from the ATP and WTA (minus the Williams sisters) and now with a billionaire owner, Larry Ellison, it is only going to get better. See site expansion plans for 2014.

Stadium at the BNP Paribas Open

Stadium at the BNP Paribas Open

Some quick facts about this tournament:
- Features the 2nd largest tennis stadium in the world (2nd only to Arthur Ashe at the US Open)
- The most attended tennis event outside the 4 grand slams.
- Located about 125 miles east of Los Angeles
- Has Hawk Eye replay system technology on every match court. Not even the Grand Slams have that.

Things to do:

Get up close and personal to the pros as they practice. Pros like Rafa Nadal

Get up close and personal to the pros as they practice (like Rafa Nadal).

True tennis enthusiasts will love the practice courts. This is where you can watch players like Federer, Djokovic or Nadal practice only a few feet from where you stand. Tip: The practice schedule is posted every day in the morning on an electronic board close to Stadium 3. If there is a big name player you want to see, make sure you get there early to get a good spot.

The large field by the practice courts.

The large field by the practice courts.

Need a break from all the tennis action? Make your way to the big grassy field by the practice courts. There might be a chance you’ll catch players like Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray playing a pick up soccer match. This is a great place to watch the players do off court training and goof around. Tip: This is another good location to get an autograph. When they walk off the field or practice court, they walk right by all the fans before entering into the players’ only area.

Feeling parched? All the tennis watching and walking around under the desert sun can leave you dehydrated. There are water fountains around the stadium that you can refill your water bottle with but for something truly refreshing, you need to hit up one of the frozen lemonade stands. It has literally saved our lives on more than one occasion. It’s kind of like The Matrix; you can’t be told of the refreshing power of a frozen lemonade, you have to experience it. For those of age and are wanting something a little more, adultish, there is the Corona Plaza where you’ll find margaritas and of course, Coronas.

Inside the tent, you'll find all the latest and great racquets

The Tennis Warehouse tent

While at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens, you’ll probably want some retail therapy. There are lots of little tents set up selling anything from sunglasses to sports drinks to watches and memorabilia. At the Fila tent, you’ll find all the latest shoes and apparel from the major brands: Nike, Fila, and adidas. It’s also where you can pick up souvenir gifts and shirts. In my totally unbiased opinion, the Tennis Warehouse tent is where it is at! At the air conditioned tent, not only will you get some relief from the heat but you’ll find all the latest and greatest racquets from the major companies. We also carry DVDs, books, strings, bags, misters and more! And if you decide that you need a new racquet or 9, we have stringers on site and by the end of the day, they’ll have your brand new racquets strung up with your string of choice at the tension you want. Can it get any better than that?! Me thinks not. Tip: To help deal with the heat, we sell these little misters. Just fill with water, give it a few pumps and let the fine mist cool you down.

Getting autographs from your favorite player is all part of the experience, and a great place to do so is at the Tennis Warehouse tent. We’ve had everyone from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and more! They’ll sign something for you and if you’re lucky, even take a picture with you. The autographs happen mostly during the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the middle weekend. Come to our tent each morning to find out who we have coming that day. Tip: For the big name players, we only allow a certain amount of fans to go through the line, so get there about 2 hours early if you really, really, really want an autograph.

The great Roger Federer signing autographs for his fans

I hope to see you out here! It’s definitely worth the trip.

Jason, TW

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