Although not considered one of the four Grand Slam tournaments in tennis, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California surely draws most of the world’s finest tennis players to compete in another fantastic tennis tournament. Played on hard courts, the BNP Paribas Open provides for a delightful spectacle that showcases the best talents in the world in the buildup to the summer Grand Slams like the French Open and Wimbledon. This year will surely provide a wonderful two weeks of tennis in the fine weather of Southern California.
The Men’s field is highlighted by all the highest ranked players of the world. Leading the pack is Novak Djokovic, winner of last month’s Australian Open and world number 1. Djokovic has now compiled 6 Grand Slam victories and is well on his way to becoming a legend of tennis himself. Having won the BNP Paribas twice in the past, Djokovic will be favored to win again.
Another interesting thing to watch in this tournament will be whether or not Rafael Nadal is able to play. Nadal, a 2 time BNP Paribas Champion, has not played since withdrawing from the US Open last summer with knee problems. He will make his comeback at several tournaments before the BNP Paribas, and if he plays will be interesting to watch. Clearly, little can be expected of a player making a comeback from injury, but how Nadal fares here will go a long ways to showing how well he may perform in the summer Grand Slams, especially against top players like Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
The Women’s field is also impressive. Victoria Azarenka, winner of last year’s BNP Paribas Open and world ranked number 1 leads the field. Coming off of an Australian Open victory, she is surely the favorite. Maria Sharapova, currently ranked 3rd will also be looking for victory. Since finishing as runner up in last year’s BNP Paribas Open, she will surely be out for revenge.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAHXhJ16Hso?rel=0]
The women’s field will unfortunately be again without the Williams’ sisters, Serena and Venus. In 2001, there was a controversial outcry when Venus withdrew from a semi-final match with Serena just minutes before play was set to start. Facing heavy criticism and even some racism from fans, they have boycotted the tournament ever since.
However, there will still be an exciting group of talented ladies at the BNP Paribas Open including Agnieszka Radwanska, Li Na, and Angelique Kerber. Perhaps someone unknown will jump through the ranks to make an impact. One such player could be 19-year-old Sloane Stephens who gained fame for defeating Serena Williams and reaching the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open. With such an impressive upset being something to build upon, Stephens could well be on the ups in women’s tennis.
The BNP Paribas Open begins on March 4th and lasts for roughly two weeks. It presents a wonderful opportunity for fans to travel to Southern California and enjoy some splendid weather in early spring. Having the world’s best tennis players will always make for some exciting play and quality entertainment, so be sure to tune in for the 2013 BNP Paribas Open.
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