I am a huge tennis fan and have always watched the Indian Wells Masters tournament since I can remember. However, I never really knew where it was except that it was somewhere in California. So last year when I came out to Arizona I was looking at a map to see what was around. I noticed Indian Wells just next to Palm Springs in the California Desert. At that moment I said to myself, I am definitely going to Indian Wells for this years tournament and that’s just what I did. After a long 5 hour ride along the I-10 from Phoenix that included a traffic fatality that stopped traffic for an hour, 40 miles back, and brought in three helicopters, I arrived in Palm Springs.
Palm Springs is probably most famous for its former Mayor, Sonny Bono. It is a gorgeous town and surrounded by several other gorgeous towns such as Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta and Rancho Mirage which is where I stayed at the awesome Westin Mission Hills (above). Thanks to my Starwood Platinum status I was able to hook up the Presidential Suite for free (below), which was way too much room for us but cool nonetheless!
We ate dinner in Palm Springs at a place called Spencer’s which is famous for steaks and always listed in those airline magazines when they list the “Top 10″ steak houses or whatever. It was fantastic and I highly recommend the filet mignon because they serve it perfectly cooked but with this awesome sauce and your favorite side.
Saturday morning we headed over to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the two mens semifinals matches in the BNP Paribas Open (the new sponsors name). The first featured 6 time Grand Slam winner, Rafael Nadal (above) and former world #3 Ivan Lbujicic (below serving) while the second featured #6 and #7 in the world in Robin Soderling and Andy Roddick respectively.
I had never seen Nadal live so I was pretty excited and if you follow my tennis rants from time to time you know I am a huge Roger Federer fan and don’t root for Nadal. I respect his game to no end but I was thrilled when he blew a one set lead and lost to long time also ran, Ivan Lbujicic, in a third set tiebreaker that Nadal lost 1-7. In the other semifinal, Roddick and Soderling split the first two sets before Roddick (below serving) prevailed setting up the final versus Lbujicic which he actually lost in 2 tiebreakers this afternoon.
The action was really intense on the court but the surroundings and the host venue was anything but. It was absolutely a spectacular tournament to be a part of and to walk the gardens. I was at the Miami Masters in Key Biscayne a few years ago and loved that tournament but Indian Wells is even better. I have now been to all 4 Grand Slam tennis event venues (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open) and both those US Masters events. I think I may go to Cincinnati this summer to see the last leg of the US Masters Series events or even up to Canada for their Masters come July/August although it switches each year between Montreal and Toronto and I can’t remember which it is this year. We shall see.
The best part about the trip was spending some time in the Palm Springs area which is fabulous. It was really perfect weather and seems like such a great place to live and vacation in. It is mainly known for retirees but I saw some more and it really wouldn’t be a bad place to live. It’s about 2 hours from Los Angeles and has a good airport with decent connections too. I’m not sure of the specifics but it is also surrounded by tons of windmills that I assume power the cities. It looks pretty imposing but is also very cool and unique to me.
All in all, I loved the trip to Indian Wells and Palm Springs and really look forward to going back sometime. If you’ve never seen a tennis tournament this would be a good one to see. The tickets are affordable and the surroundings are awesome. Hopefully next time I go, Roger Federer will still be in the tournament. I won’t be heading to Miami for the next one but hopefully the World Number 1 will take it down before the European clay court season begins.
Indian Wells Masters Tennis
March 21, 2010 by 4 Comments