August 5, 2015

Recap of 2015 Tennis Industry Association Tennis Summit at Indian Wells

tia

From the Tennis Industry Association: RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIF. (March 25, 2015) – A high-powered lineup of tennis, sports and business executives shared their insights, issues, and concerns at the 2015 Tennis Industry Association (TIA) Tennis Summit, held March 17-18 in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Open men’s and women’s professional tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif. The event was held at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in nearby Rancho Mirage.

 

Among the speakers at the Tennis Summit were TV sports broadcaster Ted Robinson, sports and performance psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Jim Loehr, USTA President and CEO Katrina Adams, Women’s Tennis Association Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster, ATP Tour Vice President of Marketing George Ciz, Life Time Fitness Founder and CEO Bahram Akradi, Sports & Fitness Industry Association President and CEO Tom Cove, U.S. Professional Tennis Association CEO John Embree, Professional Tennis Registry CEO Dan Santorum, Tennis Hall of Fame coaching legend Nick Bollettieri, tennis management company founder and former pro player Peter Burwash, Mylan World TeamTennis CEO and Commissioner Ilana Kloss, Tennis Magazine Publisher Jeff Williams, and Tennis Channel Vice President David Egdes.

 

“We brought together a terrific lineup of tennis industry executives, legends, pros, coaches and other sports and business personalities to examine the state of the tennis industry and the sport,” said TIA President Greg Mason. “Our speakers hit key topics and themes that will affect growth in every segment of the tennis industry. Plus, attendees were able to ask questions and make comments at a number of ‘Open Forums.’ The interaction produced spirited discussions that will help the sport move forward.”

 

Topics that were addressed at the Summit included:

  • How the sport can remain relevant-and grow-in today’s business climate.
  • The importance of tennis in today’s society and what the sport can learn from other sports.
  • Challenges and opportunities facing tennis, including the key tennis delivery system and teaching professionals.
  • The drive for healthy and fit lifestyles through tennis.
  • The importance of two major tennis infrastructure projects-one in Florida, the other in at the US Open in New York-to the growth of the sport.
  • The growth of the professional tours and how they’re connecting with grassroots players.
  • How digital media is changing the landscape of sports entertainment.

Mason, TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer and sports marketing research expert Keith Storey led off the Summit with the “State of the Industry.” Among the data they presented was the value of the overall “tennis economy,” which was at 5.73 billion at year-end 2014, up 3 percent from 2013.

 

Mason outlined concerns he has about the industry, including the fact that 1.5 million fewer entry-level tennis racquets were purchased from 2008 to 2014. Another concern is the age of the average tennis player is getting older. “We need to make sure we’re doing all we can to attract younger players to our sport,” he said, adding that it also extends to needing to bring younger people into the business of tennis, too.

 

One key to helping boost participation, Mason said, is the industry-wide initiative “Try Tennis Free,” which runs throughout the month of May and is designed to give new and returning players an opportunity to get into tennis for free at local facilities and with local pros. “The Try Tennis Free campaign can bring in large numbers of players, of all ages, looking to benefit from all that tennis has to offer,” he said. Mason urged all tennis providers to register their free program offers at PlayTennis.com.

 

Following Mason and the TIA, Tom Cove, the CEO of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, identified and defined key trends that will impact the tennis and sports industries, among them that health and wellness will be the “No. 1 driver” of sports participation in 2015 and that “parents want a good experience for the whole family” when it comes to sports and recreation.

 

Cove also discussed the “inactivity pandemic” in the U.S., including how 80 million Americans on a recent survey reported they do no sports or activity at all. “Inactivity has increased 28 percent over the past seven years,” Cove said. “We need to build a culture of activity based on fun sports activities.”

 

Katrina Adams, the new president, chairman and CEO of the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), talked about her priorities for her two-year term, which includes targeting the Hispanic community as a way to give tennis participation a boost in the U.S. Her goals also include finding more and better ways to reach out to recreational high school players, which she called a “huge opportunity” for the industry, and also emphasizing the importance of sportsmanship in tennis. Adams also plans to continue to increase the USTA’s collaboration and partnerships with other groups and organizations.

 

USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith discussed the ongoing improvements to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, home of the US Open. Plans call for spending more than $500 million over the next four years, including construction of a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium. “It’s important to be the leader, especially in the sports and entertainment capital of the world,” he said.

 

Smith also discussed the major, 102-court facility the USTA will build at Lake Nona, Fla., which will break ground on April 18 and has been dubbed the “new home of American tennis.” The site will serve as a training ground for players and coaches, and will be the home to the USTA Player Development and Community Tennis departments.

 

The professional game was on display with updates from WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster and ATP Tour Vice President of Marketing George Ciz, who both discussed plans for growth of the women’s and men’s tours, respectively. Allaster then joined a panel with David Egdes of Tennis Channel, Ilana Kloss of Mylan World TeamTennis and J. Wayne Richmond of the Emirates Airline US Open Series for a discussion on how the pro tours and their players connect to the grassroots.

 

World-renowned sports and performance psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Jim Loehr wrapped up the Summit’s first day with insights into how the tennis and sports industry can remain relevant to today’s athletes and culture.

 

“There is a lot of competition for kids’ participation in sports and activities,” Loehr said. “Tennis must do a better job of addressing parents to let them know how tennis is different than any other sport. How do we accelerate tennis learning? How do we make tennis friendlier? How do we make learning tennis more fun? How do we awaken the world to the value of tennis in life?”

 

Loehr added that the industry needs to do a better job selling tennis to parents, noting several points that work in tennis’s favor, including how the sport provides a full-body workout, exercises the brain, can be played for a lifetime, and helps to make a better, more fully functioning person.

 

The second day opened with Emmy Award-winning TV sportscaster Ted Robinson, who offered his take on the importance of tennis in today’s society and on what tennis can learn from other sports. “Tennis is unique in that some of the greatest players still talk about tennis and are great ambassadors for the sport,” he said.

 

To bring more spectators and participants into the sport, Robinson said technology was vital, especially for embracing millennials through digital content. “Be proud of tennis,” he said. “It’s a phenomenal activity.”

 

Life Time Fitness founder and CEO Bahram Akradi, named Tennis Industry magazine’s “Person of the Year” for his company’s commitment to tennis, explained why tennis has been a wise investment for his business and how he is looking to help the sport grow through his facilities. Life Time Fitness is the largest operator of indoor courts in the U.S. At Life Time facilities, “Tennis courts change the space from a fitness club to a country club,” Akradi said. “If there’s any chance to put in tennis courts, we will. Tennis is here to stay, and we plan to grow it at every opportunity.”

 

The USTA’s chief executive of Community Tennis, Kurt Kamperman, led a panel discussion and Open Forum on the challenges and opportunities of growing tennis at the recreational level. Panelist included the heads of the two main teaching professional organizations: Dan Santorum of the PTR and John Embree of the USPTA.

 

“Millennial parents want more local sports, shorter play formats, and non-elimination formats,” Kamperman said. “We’ve got senior players covered, but we still have work to do with youth players and getting them into the game.”

 

Peter Burwash, a former pro tour player and founder of a major tennis management company, and frequent speaker for Fortune 500 companies, discussed lessons he learned in his personal and professional life in tennis and how they can apply to growing this sport. He gave his list of the characteristics of a good leader: enthusiasm, great creativity, expanding your horizons, empathy and appreciation. “The strongest leaders are lifetime learners,” he added.

 

Immediately following the Tennis Summit, on March 18-19, top tennis facility managers and consultants shared their knowledge and experience at the third annual Tennis Owners & Managers (T.O.M.) Conference, also presented by the TIA.

Coaching legend Nick Bollettieri, who received the highest honor in tennis last July when he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, spoke at a lunch kicking off the T.O.M. Conference, praising tennis and asking what other sport you can play well into your 90s. “Keep your mission top of mind at all times,” he told the crowd, “and don’t be afraid to fail-it’s critical to success.”

 

“As a follow-up to both the Tennis Summit and the T.O.M. Conference, we’re meeting to outline a plan that we hope will go a long way to achieving transformational change within this industry,” said de Boer of the TIA. “These conferences examined the industry and our sport, and where it’s headed, and helped to define ways to ensure growth. We want to make sure we’re on the right path for the long-term.”

 

The TIA plans to present its annual Tennis Forum on Aug. 31 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, as the US Open begins. Details for 2016 tennis industry events will be announced in the near future. Visit TennisIndustry.org for more information.

 

TIA Board of Directors

adidas: David Malinowski
America Sports Builders Assoc.: Fred Stringfellow
ATP World Tour: Linda Clark
Babolat: Eric Babolat
Dunlop Sports Group: Kai Nitsche
ESPN: Jason Bernstein
HEAD Penn Racquet Sports: Greg Mason (TIA President)
IHRSA: Meredith Poppler
International Management Group: Kevin Callanan
International Tennis Federation: Dave Miley
International Tennis Hall of Fame: Todd Martin
Mylan World TeamTennis: Ilana Kloss
Prince Sports: Mike Ballardie
Professional Tennis Registry: Dan Santorum
Sports & Fitness Industry Association: Tom Cove
Tennis Channel: David Egdes
Tennis Magazine: Jeff Williams
U.S. Professional Tennis Association: John Embree
U.S. Racquet Stringers Association: David Bone
U.S. Tennis Association: Kurt Kamperman
Wilson Sporting Goods: Cory Springer
WTA Tennis: Stacey Allaster
TIA Retail Representative: Jim Fromuth

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Djokovic Does the Double

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(March 22, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, California – After the drawn out drama of the women’s final and over an hour later than planned, defending champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer took to the court for their final, and with the anticipation of perhaps another three set thriller on the cards.

 

First blood though went to the Djokovic, who closed out a ruthless break, for a 4-2 lead, and although Federer asked the question for him to serve it out, he snapped up the first set 6-3.

 

It was imperative for Federer to get off to a quick start, and it looked as though he would settle, but another loose game helped Djokovic take advantage for an early break at the start of the second.

 

Djokovic was making the difference in his return games, taking the time away from Federer in the distinctly cooler conditions today than for the majority of the tournament, but Federer needed to settle to try and at least stay in contention, before time ran out to make his move.

 

Suddenly the momentum shifted as Federer took advantage of a dip in Djokovic’s game to level at 4-4 with a break that got the crowd alive, roaring their approval and silencing the small enthusiastic group of Serbians in the nosebleeds.

 

Holding in perhaps his most commanding form since the very start of the match, the pressure was very firmly on Djokovic now as the errors started to stack up from the Serbian, as he served to stay in the set. A slightly more confident hold to love brought him into a second set tie-break.

 

With Djokovic taking the early momentum, Federer slowly got himself back into contention as the pressure got to the defending champion, double-faulting on his serve to bring Federer level at 5-5. A second double fault handed the advantage right back at the Swiss with two serves to come at 6-5. He needed just the one set point to send the final into an electric decider.

 

Perhaps it was inevitable that the defending champion would come out swinging maybe a little more freely, and quickly took a 2-0 advantage before the nerves seemed to grip him again, opening the door for Federer to charge back in to get the match back on serve.

 

It was Djokovic who surged to a lead once more, at 5-2, with Federer serving to stay in the championship.

 

For a match that could so easily have been settled in straight sets, Federer had done well to fight back, but a tired shank gave the Serbian the match points he needed, as he closed out the win 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2, a title defence, and draws level with Federer in terms of titles won here.

 

Coming first into press, Federer analyzed where the match was won (and in his case lost):

 

“For a long time I was always trailing. I was putting myself under pressure unnecessarily sometimes on my own serve. But that was, again, a credit to Novak’s great way of returning second serves.

 

“He’s always going to catch some first serves, especially here where it’s not as fast. I knew it was going to be tough. That was the most disappointing part I was telling myself throughout the match. It’s like where is that return on the first serve? “

 

He continued: “Midway through the second it started to get better and I got into more rallies, and that’s where I think it became close again. That was tougher for him, because all of a sudden I think I was playing better so he wasn’t getting as many free points. He had to pull back and play a bit more safe. So it was from my side a bit more up and down, and he was just more solid. That’s why he totally deserved to win today, in my opinion.”

 

Djokovic was presented with a cake celebrating his 50th title, which surpasses coach Boris Becker’s 49 titles, and the World No. 1 described how that felt along with his assessment of the match.

 

He said: “I thought set and a break and it was a break point for 5‑2 up. I thought I could have done the job earlier. Credit to Roger for fighting through. Showed again why he’s a competitor and champion, somebody that never gives up. When we got to the third set obviously it was anybody’s game.

 

“I managed to regroup [and] overcome that frustration of handing that tiebreak to him with three double faults in crucial moments. But that’s sport. Obviously under pressure sometimes these things happen and it’s important to regroup, bounce back, and focus on next one.”

 

He continued: “I’ve got to look forward to get to Miami and have a dinner with Boris. I think it’s on him this time. (Smiling.) I surpassed his 49th title, so that gives a little bit of special spice to this title.”

 

While Federer is skipping Miami this year, Djokovic will travel on to defend his title and attempt the double once more.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to Clash in Indian Wells Final

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(March 21, 2015) The top two men’s tennis players will face off in the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday in Indian Wells, California.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated No. 4 Andy Murray 6-2, 6-3 in the first semifinal of the day, a rematch of the Australian Open final, while No. 2 Roger Federer bested Milos Raonic 7-5, 6-4.

In Sunday’s final, defending champion Djokovic will be aiming to capture his fourth Indian Wells tournament, while Federer will be going for his fifth title in the desert. Federer leads Djokovic 20-17 in their head-to-head records.

Djokovic is now 17-8 against Murray, after winning for the sixth straight time against the Brit. Djokovic is 18- 2 on the year.

Considering this was probably the first match that I’ve played in the day in the entire year ‑‑ because I have played Doha, Dubai, Australian Open, and 90% of the matches I played during the night ‑‑ I thought I handled the conditions well.

It wasn’t easy, but I needed some time to adjust. The fact that I’m in another finals makes me definitely feel very good, very confident.

I had a phenomenal start of the season, and hopefully I can, you know, do my best tomorrow and maybe get another trophy.

Murray had a below average serving day against the Serb, losing his serve four times in the match.

“I tried to go for a few more serves today and to try to get a few more free points, but, you know, serving 50% or just below is, you know, not good enough against the best players,” sais Murray. “You obviously need to serve better.

“I thought I actually hit my second serve better than I did in Australia today, but first‑serve percentage was too low.”

Murray had 29 unforced errors and only seven winners in the contest

“I think obviously I didn’t start either of the sets well,” Murray said. “That obviously makes things difficult against the best players. I mean, Novak didn’t give me any free points at the beginning of either of the sets, and I made a few too many errors early on.

“Then, you know, in the end of both sets, middle of both sets, I started to play a bit better and made it tougher and was able to push him a bit, but not enough at the beginning of the sets to make it challenging enough for him.”

“I thought I played solid, with the right intensity from the beginning,” said Djokovic. “Good first‑serve percentage. Got some free points there in the important moments.

“Just overall it was a good performance.”

Djokovic admitted that his opponent did preform as well as he could have.

“Even though it’s a straight‑set victory, I still had to earn it,” Djokovic stated. “I thought that he hasn’t played close to his highest level. Made a lot of unforced errors, especially from the forehand side. Low percentage of first serves in. That allowed me to obviously step in and be aggressive.”

 

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

Milos Raonic broke up the potential “Big Four” reunion in the semifinals when he upset Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals on Friday. Raonic tested Federer in the straight set loss on Saturday.

The hard-serving Canadian was broken in the eleventh game of the first set, which the Swiss closed out 7-5 in 45 minutes. Federer opened the second set with a break, and never looked back.

Federer has now reached his 40th Masters Series 1000 final. Federer claimed the desert crown 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012.

“I’m very happy how well I’m playing,” said Federer. “Feel good physically. Obviously I feel refreshed after the holiday. I’m serving well, which is always crucial.”

“He was neutralizing well on the serve, but especially during the points I felt like a few times I was able to stretch him,” Raonic said.

“He was doing a good job of getting legs behind and always playing deep cross so I could never find that short forehand I was looking for.”

“I wish I would have served a higher percentage, but I felt like when I was putting my first serve in I was doing a good job,” the Canadian explained. “I don’t think I mixed up my second serve enough.”

Djokovic discussed the possibility of playing Federer in the final:

“If I get to play Roger, it’s the ultimate final that right now I can have. Probably the player that is in the best form. You know, in the last 12 months he’s been playing some of his best tennis, I thought.

“Especially after, for his standards, pretty average season in 2013. He came back and played the finals in Wimbledon, played some great tournaments, won titles, and we had a fight for No. 1 spot all the way up to last couple of matches in London.

“He started off the year well again except that third‑round loss in the Australian Open. He won two titles. You know, he’s playing great. There no question about it.

“We all know that Roger, with all his records, we know the experience that he has. He’s not expected to play nothing less than his best in these stages of the tournament.

“He’s been proving that. He won so many titles. He loves the big occasions, and I’m sure he’s gonna come out wanting to win, being aggressive.

“He moves great. I thought since he changed the racquet it helped him with maybe reaching balls in the defense that he wasn’t able to do maybe before that. Seems like he has more control in the backhand. Great serve, as always.

“So he’s a very complete player. No question about it.”

“One thing about Roger is that he always makes you play highest level if you want to win against him,” Djokovic added.

“That’s something that’s always in the back of my mind. This is something that makes me come out with the highest possible concentration and intensity and commitment. If I want to win that match and win this title, I definitely need to be on top of my game.”

“After losing so close last year I was quite disappointed, even though I was happy how I was playing,” said Federer. “Can’t wait until we get a chance again to play him here, because you have to wait one entire year, got to win another five matches, and finally you’re in the finals again.

“So I think it’s very exciting for both of us, and also for fans, to see a rematch of the great final from last year. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope I can keep up my good play.”

“I like these big matches. I have been playing so well and I don’t feel tired. I feel great going into the finals, and I hope I can keep up this kind of a level. I know I need an extra special performance tomorrow because Novak’s going to push you there to come up with a lot of great shots in a row, which is not always easy to do.

“So I will see how it goes.”

Asked if his rivalry Djokovic is on par with Rafael Nadal, Federer said: “It will never be the same. Not better or worse. It just will be different just because the matchup is so unique for me with Rafa; whereas Novak’s is totally, like I said, straightforward.

“With Rafa I feel like I need to change everything when I play him. I have played so many times against Rafa on clay, as well, that it feels different; whereas Novak has been a much more of a hard court rivalry, whereas with Rafa has been more clay and grass.”

Federer on his rivalry with Djokovic: “What remains is that you know it’s always been tough against him. I have seen the rise of him, you know, as he’s gotten fitter and more match tough, mentally tougher, became one of the best movers we have in the game. It’s been nice seeing him do that, you know, and improve as you move along.

“Sometimes I wonder if everybody’s willing to improve as much as Novak did. It’s been interesting to see him figure his game out, and I’m happy I can still hang with him. I must be quite honest, because he’s in his absolute prime right now, and I enjoy the challenge of him. I hope he enjoys my challenge.

“So we will see tomorrow, but I think it’s a very dynamic rivalry we have. Great movement. I don’t think we need to change our games very much when we play each other. We can just go out there and play our game, which I think is quite cool also for fans and for ourselves, which is interesting.”

 

 

 

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Mardy Fish Returns to Tennis, Falls in Three-set Battle to Ryan Harrison in First Round of BNP Paribas Open

(March 12, 2015) Former world No. 7 Mardy Fish returned to the court under a protected ranking, for the first time in over 18 months on Thursday in Indian Wells, California. Fish was off the tour due to heart problems which have bothered him since 2012.

The 33-year-old Fish put up a good fight for 2 hours and 36 minutes and even had two match points in falling to fellow American, 22-year-old Ryan Harrison, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open. The pair of match points came at 15-40 in the 10th game of the third set.

“I worked really hard in the past three-and-a-half months to get in physical shape, to go from golf to tennis shape,” Fish said.

“It was nice to play Ryan, sort of a good friend. Someone you’re familiar with. So that part was nice to not have to play someone you don’t really know.

“It’s hard. It’s never easy. It still stings a little bit,” Fish said of the loss.

“I would have liked to play a little better, “he noted. “I would have like to have won – it is what it is.”

“Being on the court for so long. It felt great to be out there. Those are situations you work hard to put yourself into.”

“It’s such a great event,” he said. “I’ve got great memories from 2008 here.

“It felt fantastic to be out there.”

Asked about how he’s had to control his ailment he said: “I learn from every situation, every episode, every sort of scenario that I put myself in in the last couple of years, and I learn from this today.

“I didn’t really have many expectations, as far as how long I could play tournament-wise. How many tournaments I could play – Indian Wells and Miami was kind of in the background.

“This is a new different challenge for me.”

Fish said that he has to come on to the court and “be sort of even keel.”

“Something that I have to work on with my sports Psychologist – what sort of frame of mind do you need out there, (be)cause this is unchartered territory for me in the past couple of years.”

“Golf was such a savior for me because I able to jump into something that I really liked to do, that I was good at, and I could see myself getting better and I really enjoy playing in the tournaments, improving, things like that.” Golf was a coping mechanism for him – “to take my mind off the tennis, what other guys were doing.”

To prepare for his comeback, the American said that he played five or six days a week for the past 20 weeks – “it felt pretty close to tennis.”

Doesn’t have interest in going to the “minor leagues and working my way back up.”

Fish said that he has 3 tournaments where he can use a protected ranking. “It will run out at the US Open. Will have some decisions to make.”

The win for Harrison moves him into the second round where he’ll face No. 5 in the world Kei Nishikori.

 

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Indian Wells Tennis Garden Celebrates Topping Out Stadium 2

Mary Roche, Mayor, City of Indian Wells; Steve Simon, Tournament Director, BNP Paribas Open; Raymond Moore, CEO, BNP Paribas Open and Indian Wells Tennis Garden; Jody James Watkins, President and CEO, Watkins Landmark Construction; Dick Oliphant, Owner's Representative.

Mary Roche, Mayor, City of Indian Wells; Steve Simon, Tournament Director, BNP Paribas Open; Raymond Moore, CEO, BNP Paribas Open and Indian Wells Tennis Garden; Jody James Watkins, President and CEO, Watkins Landmark Construction; Dick Oliphant, Owner’s Representative.

Indian Wells, Calif., August 6, 2013 – The final structural beam was placed atop the new Stadium 2 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden (IWTG) on Tuesday in a “topping out” celebration presented by Watkins Landmark Construction. The new stadium is on schedule to be completed in time for the 2014 BNP Paribas Open to be held March 3-16, 2014.

Construction workers, IWTG Staff, members of the design and engineering teams, Watkins Landmark Employees and other dignitaries in attendance signed the 15-foot beam to recognize the hard work and dedication of everyone involved to help this new structure come to fruition. The beam was then hoisted to its final resting place on the top of an elevator shaft on the northeast corner of the stadium. On hand to speak at the ceremony were Raymond Moore, CEO of the BNP Paribas Open and IWTG; Jody James Watkins, President and CEO of Watkins Landmark Construction; and Mary Roche, Mayor of the City of Indian Wells.

“This BNP Paribas Open and Indian Wells Tennis Garden ‘Topping Out’ ceremony is a celebration of the hard work that has been put into getting the structure where it is today,” said Moore. “However, this ceremony is also a landmark in the construction process, signifying that the home stretch is quickly approaching. The new Stadium 2 will be an outstanding facility for our fans come next March, when the tennis stars and fans from around the world descend upon Indian Wells.”

The new Stadium 2 officially broke ground in March during the 2013 BNP Paribas Open, which is currently home to the second-largest tennis stadium in the world. The facility will feature 8,000 seats and space for three restaurants.

This is part of an overall site expansion that also includes a marquee site entrance on Washington Street with a new box office, a new 19,000 square foot shade structure identical to the one built in 2012, four additional practice courts, expansion of the current Miles Street entrance, an upgraded accessible parking area on the north side, an additional grass parking space for up to 2,000 cars and expansion and relocation of the TV Production compound.

“We are so honored to be such a big part of this site expansion,” said Watkins. “This new Stadium 2 is going to add to the already-impressive Indian Wells Tennis Garden and be yet another jewel in the desert.”

Construction of the site expansion is set to finish in time for the 2014 BNP Paribas Open.

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Nadal Rallies To Beat Del Potro for Record 22nd Masters Title

Rafael Nadal

(March 17, 2013) Rafael Nadal rallied past Juan Martin Del Potro to win his third BNP Paribas Open title 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday. For Nadal it’s a record 22nd Masters 1000 title, one better than Roger Federer. Indian Wells is his 53rd ATP title as he notched his 600th win.

Nadal opened the match quickly taking a 3-0 lead in the first set. Del Potro found his game and rallied to take the set 6-4. Del Potro broke Nadal’s serve in the opening game of the second set and looked to take the title. The momentum switched to Nadal as the Spaniard came back from 0-2 to win the set 6-3.

“Then I think Del Potro start to play more aggressive and I lost a little bit my calm,” Nadal said.  “I didn’t make the right thing because I tried to change my direction against his forehand with my forehand in not the right ‑‑ in not a favorable position.  So that produces more mistakes than usual.

“For that reason, I was not able to keep winning games.  He was playing great.  He was playing solid.  I was playing with more mistakes and no chances.  Then I was lucky to have the break back in the second set because the first game of the second set was struggle for me.

“Four mistakes with my forehand, and the last ‑‑ when I had the break back in the second everything changed.  I found the way to win points another time, to be comfortable when the ball is in the middle of the point, know how to play.  And after that break, in my opinion, I played the right tactic another time.

“I waited for the right moment to change against his forehand.”

The third set saw Nadal put even more pressure on the Argentine, breaking him the third game for a 2-1. Del Potro saved three match points while serving  at 3-5, to hold for 4-5 but Nadal sealed the victory in the next game holding easily for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.

“I think Rafa deserves to win,” said Del Potro. “He plays unbelievable for like an hour there.  The last hour of the match he didn’t make effort.  He played so solid and put me so far to the baseline and make winners from there.

“But I think I made a good tournament anyway, and Rafa played really well today the second and third set.  He broke me early in the third.  Play against him when the score is down is tougher, you know.  But I was fighting all the time but he won in the end.”

Del Potro was asked if he was tired after his three-set win over Novak Djokovic on Saturday.

“I played three sets against Murray then three sets Djokovic,” the Argentine said.  “But the finals are finals.  You know, they are special, and you get the energy from everywhere to play the finals.  I think of course if he had a day off between matches would be fantastic, but Rafa plays yesterday, also.  The conditions are the same for both players.

“I think my body was okay.  Just he played better in the end and he deserved to win.”

Nadal spoke about how emotional this victory was in light of he recent comback to the tour after a seven month hiatus due to a left knee injury:

“A lot of things happened last seven months, to be back here and to have this very heavy trophy with me is amazing, no?  I am winning three straight top 10s, beating the top 5 of the world and No. 4 and not be in the top 4 and you play quarterfinals, no?

“So beating three top 10, three very important players, and win title like this is just something unbelievable for me.  Very, very happy and very emotional.

“When, you know, when you have one comeback like I’m having is, you know, you remember all the low things, lower moments that you had during this seven months, doubts and all these things.

“Hopefully I passed, and just can remember all the people that really helped me a lot during all this time.”

Nadal is now leading the ATP with tournament titles at three and has 17-1 record this year. He is currently on a 14-match win streak. Nadal has withdrawn from the Sony Open in Miami and will be back on tour for the Monte Carlo Masters event in late April.

Nadal apologized about having to miss Miami: “I’m very sorry for the organization of the tournament and I’m very sorry for the fans, but we never thought we’d be able to play all matches possible since I came back.

“The doctors recommend me to be back home for a few weeks and rest a little bit and keep practicing the right way.  You know, I need more power on the left leg quadriceps, so I need to keep working hard.  The competition is hard for the body, so after four fantastic weeks I can’t go to Miami.  I need to prepare and rest for the next one.”

 

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Sharapova Crushes Wozniacki for Second Indian Wells Title

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(March 17, 2013) Maria Sharapova defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-2 to win the BNP Paribas Open, her first title of the year. For Sharapova it her second Indian Wells title, the last one coming in 2006. It’s Sharapova’s 28th career title and first since winning the French Open last year.

Sharapova dictated the match from beginning to end in the 81 minute match. Sharapova compiled 33 winners to a mere two hit by her opponent.

“Of course she was putting pressure on me from the start, ” said Wozniacki.  “She was serving very well.  You know, I felt like everything that she wanted to do today was going in.  I mean, she was making very few errors, and if she did, then it was really at the times where it didn’t really matter.

“You know, I have to say she just played too well today.  You know, I tried.  I tried to do my best out there, but, yeah, it just wasn’t good enough today.”

“The scoreline, you know, looks a lot easier than I think the match actually was, ” Sharapova said.  “I think it was a tough match, a tough battle, and there were a lot of games that went to deuce and a lot of long games.

“You know, they could have easily swung the other way, especially some opportunities she had in that second set.  I always felt like I was always a foot ahead, especially with the breaks.  I was able to serve well today, and that helped me.”

During her run in the tournament Sharapova dropped a total of only 28 games.

Sharapova is now 14-2 on the year and will move up to No. 2 in the world when the rankings come out on Monday, dropping Victoria Azarenka to No. 3. Serena Williams remains at No.1.

 

More to follow after the news conferences…..

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Third Time’s the Charm: Bryan Brothers Capture First Doubles Championship in the Desert

By Jennifer Knapp

Bryan Brothers

(March 17, 2013) – Top seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of the U.S. won their first BNP Paribas Open title on Saturday, defeating the first time pairing of Treat Huey (PHI) and Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 6-3, 3-6, 10-6 in 69 minutes in yet another thriller under the lights at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

 

Competing in the desert for the 15th time, the 34-year old twins, needed a super tiebreak to close out the match as Huey and Janowicz proved to be formidable opponents. Each team was only broken one time but in the end, the cohesiveness, experience and advanced skill level of the journeymen Americans proved to be the deciding factor.

 

After celebrating their 86th title together with a trademark chest bump, the brothers embraced.  Despite all of their success over the years, it was clear to see how much this championship meant to them.

 

The Bryans, who previously lost the 2003 and 2006 finals, praised Huey and Janowicz, who were playing in their first tournament together as a team,   “We’ve played 3,000 tournaments,” Bob Bryan joked, “and we barely clipped you guys.”

 

With this latest win, the brothers secured their 22nd Masters Series 1000s and have increased their championship match winning percentage to 66% (86 of 130 finals).

How sweet it is.

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Del Potro Upsets Djokovic and Will Meet Nadal in BNP Paribas Open Final

 

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(March 16, 2013) Juan Martin Del Potro rallied from 0-3 down in the third set to end the 22 match win streak of  No. 1 Novak Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to move into his first BNP Paribas Open final on Saturday.

Serving for the match, Del Potro clinched the victory with an ace to defeat the Serb for only his third time in 11 career meetings in two-hours-and-49-minutes – the longest match of the tennis  tournament. The win also ended a 4 match losing streak to Djokovic.

The last Argentine to reach the Indian Wells final, was Guillermo Vilas in 1977.

Del Potro will be playing No. 5 Rafael Nadal in the final on Sunday at Indian Wells. Nadal defeated Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-4 earlier in the day.

Del Potro credited his third set comeback to the fans. “I think the crowd help me to keep fighting and to come back in the 3rd set,” Del Potro said on court after the match.

“I was doing a very good match until the third set, but Novak had the chance to beat me when I was 3‑Love, Del Potro said later in a post-match news conference.

“But I come back soon, and that give me a little confidence to come back in that set.

“Then also the crowd want to watch more tennis and help me to play my best tennis in the end, and I think it was my best match in this tournament, for sure.”

 

“His fighting spirit and my lack of concentration,” Djokovic told media were the reasons for the turnaround after leading 3-0 in the final set.  “I just ‑‑ I didn’t deserve to win today.  You know, whenever I had chances, second, third set, I throw them away with some unforced errors.  My movement was poor, and I congratulate to my opponent.”

“I never think about my yesterday match, Del Potro said about his win over Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.  Djokovic is completely different player.  He’s the No. 1 and always is a big challenge against him.

“I was so close to lose because he got the chance to beat me, but I think I got lucky in very important moments, very important points when I made a fantastic winners on my forehands.

“Also good aces, and that’s help me to go through.

Djokovic on Del Potro’s game:”He has a big serve; he moves around the court very well for his height; he uses that forehand as a great weapon, you know.  Great running forehand, so he’s opening that side.

“I didn’t use my backhand along the line as I usually do.  It’s one of my best shots.  Today I just wasn’t there.  My backhand generally wasn’t there.  It’s okay, you know.  It happens.  It’s sport, and I just didn’t make it this time.”

Del Potro’s use of the slice proved to be very effective in this match and in the tournament. “I use it a lot, because that help me to play more aggressive with my forehand and trying to do different things, Del Potro said.  “That help me to beat Murray yesterday; today Nole.

“I don’t know if I’m going to use tomorrow against Rafa because he’s lefty and he move really, really fast in the baseline.

“But what I know about him is playing more aggressive than today, trying to make a few winners with my forehands, coming a lot to the net, and I need to serve well also.”

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Rafael Nadal beat Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-5 to gain his fourth berth in the BNP Paribas Open final. Nadal is now 16-1 in his comeback from a left knee injury since taking a seven month hiatus off the tennis tour, including a current 13 match win streak.

“It’s very, very difficult to imagine something like this. But here we are today, and very happy about all what happened the last month, especially last three weeks,” said Nadal, who took out No. 2 Roger Federer in straight sets in the quarterfinals.

“So coming back is certainly something amazing for me, totally unexpected, and I received more support than ever from the crowd every place that I played.  That’s always a very, very special feeling.  Thank you very much, all the people.

“I am enjoying, sure.  Every match means a lot to me.  Every time I am able to come back on court and play these kind of matches makes me very happy.”

“I don’t have nothing to lose after seven months. I did much more than what I dreamed.”

Nadal will be seeking his third Indian Wells title.

“He looks strong again,” Berdych said. “He still play very aggressive, and what he was missing in his first matches when he come back after the injury was maybe a bit of confidence in his game, but definitely not today and not anymore.”

“When it was 5-3 ( in the second set) since that time I serve only one first serve and he serve only one second serve,” Berdych said. “Actually, that was the difference.”

“I was very nervous at the end of the match to close the match and was lucky that my serve worked amazing in the last game in important moments,” Nadal  said. “Victories like today, like the other day, helps you a lot for the confidence and to remember all the things that you have to do in every moment.”

Nadal holds a 7-3 head-to-head record versus the Argentine.

In order for Del Potro to win Sunday’s final, Del Potro explained that everything has to be “perfect.” “ It’s the final against Rafa.  For sure I need to play better and better every day.  All finals are special to play.

“Also when you play the top guys, they are the favorites, but I will try to do my game like just like today and then see if Rafa give me a little chance to win.”

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Djokovic Win Streak Up to 22 with Win Over Tsonga

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(March 15, 2013) No. 1 Novak Djokovic extended his win streak to 22 on Friday with a defeat of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for 8th straight time, 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open.

The last time Djokovic lost was back on October 31 to American Sam Querrey at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. The Serb is 17-0 this year with two titles including the Australian Open.

Djokovic broke Tsonga’s serve four times during the 54 minutes match. The Frenchman is now 0-11 against the world’s top 5 since November 2011.

“I served really well and used the shots around the court well, and that’s what matters for me,” Djokovic said.

“Things went well from the start.  You know, it was quite different conditions from that previous match when I played at night and was much slower.  Today was a hotter day obviously, and the ball’s going through the air much faster.  That required a big focus and adjustment steps before every point and every shot.

“I thought I did well.  I was in the balance.  I returned well when I needed to.  He made a lot of unforced errors, which obviously helped me to get in front.

“When it was important, I didn’t allow him to come back to the match.  I didn’t allow him to have an opportunity to believe that he can maybe have a break back and get back into the match.

“So that was very important for me to stay mentally, you know, committed throughout the whole match.

“Was tough for me to keep the ball in the court, said Tsonga.  “Not because he put me a lot of pressure.

“I don’t know.  Just because it was ‑‑ I don’t know.  I don’t know how to explain that, but it was a day for me without sensation.  Everything I tried to do, I missed it, and not about a point like this.  In the match you have many, many points.”

Djokovic will play the winner of Andy Murray versus Juan Martin Del Potro match.

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