My Experience at the BNP Paribas 2024

My Experience at the BNP Paribas 2024

There are many ways the community can come together through common interests. This can be by attending movies, church, jobs, and, most commonly, sporting events. When people go to sporting events, they gather to support one interest and invest their time in the sport. One sport that always brings people together is tennis. Although it’s not always the first sport to come to mind, the tennis community is stronger than ever. Four major tennis tournaments happen worldwide throughout the year, but a fifth big tournament occurs near us in Palm Springs, known as the BNP Paribas.

From March 3rd to March 17th, the BNP Paribas took place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs. The Indian Wells Tennis Garden is the world’s third-largest tennis stadium; some of the biggest names in tennis have played there. I attended the tournament in 2021 as a gift from a family member, but I had the honor of attending the tournament again this year, which was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. Since tennis tournaments can be quite pricey, I was picky about my chosen seats. In the end, seats for my dad and I cost me two hundred and fifty dollars, located in the upper section but with a great view. Finding the seats was a challenge, but friendly volunteers around the grounds were willing to help wherever we needed to go. The tennis community is very welcoming and wants to encourage everyone to enjoy their experience.

Going into the day, I wasn’t sure which matches I would watch or which players would be there. I knew some of the highest-ranked players were in the tournament, and I was hopeful about seeing them. The day’s first match started at 11 am, a mixed doubles final. This was the first time the tournament hosted mixed doubles, so I was excited to see the players in action. C. Garcia and E. Roger-Vasselin from France came onto the court, and they would be playing S. Hunter and M. Ebden from Australia. Upon further research on both the teams, Hunter/ Ebden was ranked number one in the world for mixed doubles, and Garcia/ Roger-Vasselin was ranked twelfth, which would make for a good match. For most of the match, Hunter/Ebden were ahead because they played spectacular tennis that the other team couldn’t keep up with. In the end, Hunter/Ebden took the victory 6- 3, 6- 2, and won the mixed doubles title at this tournament for the first time. Not many people attended this match as it wasn’t announced to the public, but it was a unique experience.

Hokulea Rezentes

After a short break, the next match started at 1:30 pm, which was the men’s doubles final. Since our tickets were for all the matches throughout the day, we got comfortable in our seats and were excited for the next match to start. M. Granollers and H. Zeballos played in this match, who were playing W. Koolhof and N. Mektic. While I was still determining their rankings, anyone who can make it to the finals in a pro-doubles match will be good. I was on the edge of my seat during this match as it was a close battle. While watching the match, I noticed the lady next to me was just as invested as I was. Even though you aren’t allowed to talk during a tennis match while the people are playing, I decided to talk to her a bit during the breaks. While I assumed most people would be local to the event, the lady next to me, Katie McLafney, traveled from Minnesota to attend this match. McLafney said, “I love watching tennis so much that it was worth it to travel this far” and that “it is a great way for my family to come together and enjoy each other’s company.” McLafney was open about her family’s love for the sport, and I admired how she felt the tennis community helped her connect with the people she loved. Turning back to the match, it was a very close match, with the score going back and forth while also having people on the edge of their seats. Ultimately, Koolhof and Mektic won their match 7-6, 7-6, claiming yet another win at the BNP Paribas Open 2024.  

Hokulea Rezentes

While the previous match took a little over two hours, we only had about thirty minutes until the next match was about to start. The stadium was almost full at this point, and we had people on both sides of us. After talking to McLafney some more, I learned that she was planning to go to the next day full of matches, which showed her love for the sport and the people involved. I was thoroughly excited for the next match to come as we would be watching the number one player in the world, Iga Światek, going against Marta Kostyuk, the thirty-first player in the world. As it was the women’s semifinals, I was very excited to see this high level of play. It was a slow start for Kostyuk, but she was going against the number one player, who was having a very good day. She was consistent throughout the match, strategically placing the balls where they needed to be, leaving Kostyuk in a tough spot. Later in the match, she rolled her ankle, which resulted in her taking a ten-minute medical break. During that time, I started talking to the people on the other side of my dad about whether they liked the match. While talking to him, I didn’t catch his last name, but Dale said, “We came the other day as well, and the matches never fail to surprise us.” Dale was there with his wife and said that he also came on the second day of the tournament. He discussed how he “plans to attend at least three days of the tournament next year to see the most players possible.” I plan to attend more days as well next year so I feel like I was able to connect with my community when he said that. Turning back to the match, Kostyuk’s level of play decreased after her injury because she couldn’t run as well as before, leading Światek to win the match 6-2, 6-1, and taking her to the match finals. Her celebration afterward showed her hard work paid off and that she appreciated the opportunity to move on to the next match. I was very thankful to witness this match and have this be the last experience of the day.

While I have always loved tennis, experiencing the community around it was a truly unreal experience. If you are ever in need of a group of people who come together for all the right reasons, a tennis tournament may be the place to go.

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