I’ve always found the Palm Springs Valley to be the picture perfect place to play a game of tennis. Now, mind you, I’m not a very good player, but I’ve always loved batting around a fuzzy yellow-green ball with some pals on the many public and private courts in the area. And with an international—and local—obsession with the game, it’s no surprise that the fifth largest tennis event in the world is located right here in the desert at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the championship began humbly at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage in 1976. Those small-scale days are long gone, as “Indian Wells”—as it’s usually referred to by tennis lovers around the world—now offers over $10 million in prize money, and entertains more than 400,000 spectators with a roster of the best players on the globe through its two weeks.
This season the event will be held from March 9 – 22, with defending champions Novak Djokovic and Flavia Pennetta (and a group of 11 former winners and 12 Grand Slam singles champions), on the courts to duke it out for the highest honors. Names like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka, and Vera Zyonareva will all add to the luster of this fabulous sporting event. Oh, and let’s not forget the really, really big news: Serena Williams is returning to Indian Wells for the first time in nearly 14 years!
Check the website for tickets and passes, and don’t forget to figure in some time to just relax and enjoy the beautiful tennis garden facility. Get lost as you wander around the 30 courts, watch the players as they warm up, do a little shopping, dine on some of the finest food in the world—or nosh down on some nachos or a tasty dog and fries! Whether you’re a die-hard tennis fan or just looking for a fun event to take the kids or grandkids to, you won’t be disappointed by the goings-on at the BNP Paribas, right down the road from some of the best resorts in Rancho Mirage!