Indian Wells, nestling in south-west California, has a fast growing reputation as the ‘fifth’ Slam.
Venus and Serena Williams refused to play the Indian Wells tournament from 2001 to 2014 despite threats of financial sanctions and ranking point penalties.
The pair were scheduled to play in the 2001 semifinal but Venus withdrew due to an injury.Amid speculation of match fixing, the crowd for the final loudly booed Serena when she came out to play the final and continued to boo her through the entire match.
The Indian Wells Masters is one of nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 high-level events managed by the Association of Tennis Professionals, and one of the four WTA Premier Mandatory tournaments of the Women’s Tennis Association.
And, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden centre has the second-largest tennis-specific stadium in the world, after Arthur Ashe in New York.
The event, the BNP Paribas Open and the WTA Indian Wells Open, is an annual one held in March.
The owner is Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle. The current tournament director is former world No. 2 player Tommy Haas.
Between 1974 and 1986 it was a secondary tournament of the Grand Prix Tennis Tour but in 1987 it was upgraded to be part of the Grand Prix Super Series, taking the place of the Philadelphia Indoor event.
Both singles main draws include 96 players in a 128-player grid, with the 32 seeded players getting a bye to the second round.
The tournament is played on hard courts and is the best-attended tennis tournament outside the four Grand Slam tournaments.
The centre has 29 tennis courts, including the 16,100-seat main stadium, and a secondary 8,000 seat stadium.
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