the facilities are as resplendent as ever, and even more gourmet food options now. this time it felt a lot more crowded though, its status as unofficial 5th slam is growing quickly.
I still recommend this over any other North American tennis vacation, including US Open. cheaper tickets, better weather, nicer grounds and a compressed schedule that practically guarantees you'll be seeing some of your heroes on any given day.
in the unseasonably hot "not even spring yet??" weather that saw highs around 35 degrees, sun protection took some novel turns, including ghost transfiguration.
Stan tunes his serve. he was on court right beside girlfriend Donna Vekic, whose wildcard appearance at the tournament was a minor controversy.
Despondent Posipsil wonders how his match against Lajovic is slipping away, just a couple days after blowing up the draw with his Murray takedown.
Martina sighting! all these years later, she's still a force on the doubles court that draws a big crowd. she's also still rocking that 70 mph serve too.
Djokovic prepping for his 4th round matchup...
...and shortly thereafter getting blown away by Hurricane Nick. next time they meet, Nole should make him a pre-match fruit smoothie.
Caro flashes her million watt smile. it feels like we've been watching her forever but she's still just 26; even though her slam contention days are likely over, I hope she sticks around for a while yet.
Roger looking about as cool as a 35 year old dad with a backwards hat could possibly manage.
Roger and Caro say hi at practice time. she drew a bit of her own crowd, but the crush of fans that roared when the Maestro appeared was enough to make her grin and take a small break.
as Fed spent about 15 minutes post practice signing autographs, Ljubicic sauntered out, lamenting "nobody remembers me anymore...". I yelled "yay former #3 you're awesome" to try and cheer him up.
unlike Roger's crossing of Caro's practice, Rafa's entrance was all about the zero eye contact. oh those Indian Wells jokers who thought it would be funny to schedule them at the same time, on adjacent courts. Fed showed up 20 minutes early to try and avoid the circus of a simultaneous entrance.
seriously, they should have just scheduled practices for GOAT 1 and 2 on one of the big stadiums, they could have filled it.
Fedal XXXVI gets underway. I never thought I would see one of their matches in person, but thanks to their low rankings, this was a 4th round gift from the tennis gods. only thing, it lasted just an hour so it was all over by the time I was ready to believe what I was watching.
btw, their ant-like size here is not representative of how it actually looks in the upper tier. you can comfortably see what's going on even if you're sitting in the highest rows. it's not an Arthur Ashe monstrosity.
eternally classy Venus chills midway through practice. this is my Serena hate talking, but I consider her comeback from so many injuries and that autoimmune disease to be the equal of anything her sister accomplished.
finally, for you Nintendo fans out there, these guys are a 40 minute drive from Indian Wells (and very close to some high quality outlet shopping).