2019 BNP Paribas Open
On March 4, the brightest stars of tennis will gather to compete at Indian Wells Tennis Garden
By Chris Lewis
There’s no tennis tournament quite like the BNP Paribas Open. Not only is it contested at renowned Indian Wells Tennis Garden—a venue regularly updated and expanded to provide fans the best viewing experience possible—and held in one of the world’s most gorgeous communities, from its mountain vistas to near perfect weather year-round, it also welcomes tennis’s cream of the crop.
And that’s exactly why thousands upon thousands of fans travel to Indian Wells, California, every March. They want to witness the greatness of the game’s best players firsthand.
Not surprising, each year the storyline is impressive, whether up-and-comers shock the fans with unexpected victories or longstanding champions claim the title yet again.
Last March, fans were enamored by Juan Martín del Potro’s surprising victory over Roger Federer, as well as Naomi Osaka’s rise from a relatively unknown to a BNP Paribas Open champion (then just a few months later U.S. Open champion as well). The outcomes were certainly surprising, unlike recent years when the likes of Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal dominated.
So what should fans expect this year? The best of the best competing toe-to-toe, or perhaps some unexpected players challenging the world’s highest-ranked professionals? Or maybe a little bit of both? Regardless of which players contend in the final matches, Philippe Dore, the tournament’s media and marketing director, believes fans should prepare for remarkable storylines yet again in 2019.
“As usual, we’ll have all of the top players in the world,” Dore says. “There are so many great storylines happening on the ATP World and WTA Tours right now, too, from the old guard to the new guard.”
In particular, fans should keep their eyes on the following players, due to their past performances at Indian Wells as well as their recent results.
Roger Federer. How could anyone argue against Federer’s odds of claiming his record sixth BNP Paribas Open victory? Not only has he been extremely consistent since he won the tournament for the first time in 2004 (three-runner up finishes alongside his five wins in 14 years), but he simply doesn’t seem to age. After all, the 37-year-old won four ATP World Tour events in 2018, including the Australian Open, his 20th Grand Slam victory—an all-time record.
Novak Djokovic. Djokovic will also be seeking his record sixth win at the BNP Paribas Open. From 2014 to 2016, Djokovic enjoyed one of the tournament’s most dominating stretches, earning three consecutive victories, a feat only matched by Federer. His momentum has stalled since then, however. He missed half of the 2017 season due to an elbow injury, which ultimately required surgery. But as evidenced by his performances in 2018— four ATP World Tour wins, including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open—the elbow is no longer slowing him down. Expect this positive momentum to continue in March.
Rafael Nadal. Although he hasn’t won the BNP Paribas Open since 2013, the three-time champion is so consistent, talented and focused that no one should bet against him returning to the winner’s circle. With an astonishing 11 French Open victories to his credit, Nadal is often regarded as the greatest clay surface player the game has ever seen, and rightly so. But don’t underestimate his talents on hard surfaces either; he’s also won six other Grand Slams on grass.
Juan Martín del Potro. Although a defending champion shouldn’t ever be considered a “sleeper pick,” when compared to Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, del Potro most likely will be. His 2018 victory was surprising—some would even say shocking—as he has overcome four wrist surgeries to once again become a top-tier player. Currently ranked fourth in the world, del Potro could very well reach the final of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open. He’s not only talented enough, but his perseverance is matched by few others—and perseverance is a necessity at Indian Wells.
“It’s always fun to see returning champions come back and compete year after year,” Dore says. “Our tournament gives fans the opportunity to get close to these great athletes and, with so many in attendance, it really is a memorable experience.”
Chris Lewis is a staff writer with Desert Golf & Tennis
It’s not just about the men. Watch out for these WTA Tour Stars !
1.) Simona Halep
2.) Serena Williams
3.) Daria Kasatkina
4.) Angelique Kerber
5.) Naomi Osaka
6.) Venus Williams
7.) Caroline Wozniacki
8.) Karolína Plíšková
9.) Petra Kvitová
10.) Sloane Stephens