Maybe it’s how remote the tournament site is, or maybe it’s just the perfect climate for a tennis tournament; whatever it is, the BNP Paribas Open should be turned into an actual Major tournament. It’s already been coined as the “fifth slam,” so why wouldn’t it be worthy of joining the elite four and be worth 2000 ATP and WTA ranking points?
Regardless of whether or not BNP Open is going to be a major or not, it’s still a tennis tournament that should be on every fans bucket list, at the very least one day to enjoy the sights, sunshine, tennis, food, and general friendly mood of the fellow spectators. I have been fortunate enough to enjoy several trips to this tournament, and every year it gets better and better; this year however, was extra special for me. I was able to get behind the scenes and got to see some things that most of us don’t get to see.
I spent a good amount of time in the racquet stringing room, it was pretty special, all the guys in there were extremely nice and informative. I happened to be in there as they were stringing Kevin Andersons’ Head YouTek IG Prestige Midplus, as well as Marion Bartoli’s Prince EXO3 Black 100. I asked who gets the most string jobs at this tournament; of course I thought it was the person who makes it to the finals, though surprisingly, I was told that Nikolay Davydenko had his Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Plus strung about 30 times before the tournament started. Why? Fine-tuning his string tension and weight of his racquet for the dry desert air, which makes total sense at his level of play. On average though, most players have their racquets strung twice daily, once for practice/warm-up and again before matches – that’s a lot of stringing!
Out of pure curiosity, I asked if the stringers noticed any new trends with the players, apparently the pros are starting to string their racquets at lower tensions, much lower…in the lower 50’s or mid to high 40 pounds of tension (you can read more about racquet tension here). More on this topic another time, I’m investigating this transition currently.
Unfortunately this year, the BNP Paribas Open was plagued by some sort of “bug,” infecting not only the spectators, but the players and volunteers as well. This flu or whatever it was, knocked out 8 players including 2009 champion Vera Zvonareva and the human highlight reel, Gael Monfils. From what I read, this illness struck hard and fast only lasting a day and a half. Thankfully, I didn’t catch whatever was going around!
In any event, why should the BNP Paribas Open become a Major tennis tournament? Simply because it is a premiere event, most of the players go, it’s huge for the tennis fans, and more importantly, it will give Americans another reason to try tennis, it would be on both coasts!
In closing, I would personally like to thank all the volunteer staff, security guards, stringers for putting on another awesome tennis tournament. I am especially thankful of the PR firm that worked with Tennisthis.com to give me a medias pass to be able to show my readers how spectacular the BNP Paribas Open tournament is. If you haven’t been, make the drive, it’s well worth the travels.