How Indian Wells connects Roger Federer, Sampras and Backer to California



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How Indian Wells connects Roger Federer, Sampras and Backer to California

BNP Paribas Open that is played at Indian Wells, in California, is inextricably linked to the great champions who have written its history: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Boris Becker and many others.

Today, the first ATP Masters 1000 of the season is hosted at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, in the town of Indian Wells (approximately 4000 inhabitants), in Riverside County, in southern California. It is located in the Palm Springs area, between the cities of Palm Desert and La Quinta.

But although the tournament is mainly played in California, its origin has its roots in Arizona, precisely in Tucson, the capital of Pima County, a city with more than 500,000 inhabitants and home of the University of Arizona.

The first two editions were played in Tucson: John Newcombe won the first one in the final against Ilie Nastase. The tournament was played in Arizona only for the first two editions and then moved permanently to California.

The tournament's first Californian venue was Palm Springs, in Riverside. It was played there for three editions: on the court, there were tennis players such as Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Roscoe Tanner. A historical curiosity: the artist Carl Eytel first settled in the area which would later become the Tennis Club.

For two editions, in 1979 and 1980, the tournament was played in Rancho Mirage, also in Riverside. In 1980 the final was canceled due to rain. Forty years later the tournament was canceled entirely, as we all know ... In 1981, the tournament was moved to the Mission Hills Country Club in the Coachella Valley, coming to be known as the La Quinta tournament.

The popularity of the tournament grew exponentially and, in 1986, tournament director Charlie Pasarell decided to expand the sports facilities. He, then, created the PM Sports Management company and, thanks to various experts, he developed an important sports center and a luxury hotel to make the tournament even more attractive.

After signing a partnership with Newsweek, the tournament took on the name of Newsweek Champions Cup from 1988. The opening of the new complex in Indian Wells in 1987 was a great event on the ATP Tour. The tournament was included in the schedule of the Grand Prix Championship Series, nine tournaments whose importance was just below that of the Grand Slams, and precursors of the current ones ATP Masters 1000.

From 1987 to today the tournament grew incredibly: today many tennis players, media, insiders and fans consider it almost like the 5th Slam, both for its importance and for the beautiful background, both for all the comforts that the organizers provide for tennis players, media and fans.

A story that began in the mid-70s, which evolved from Arizona to California, passing through champions such as Boris Becker, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.