Voted ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year for the last three years, the BNP Paribas Open is a huge favourite among the players, and the very best players in the world will again gather in the Californian desert for some exciting hard court tennis from March 6-19, 2017.
BNP Paribas Open tennis is live from Indian Wells from March 6-19, 2017
Being the first ATP Masters 1000 event of the season, the BNP Paribas Open always comes along with plenty of expectations and excitement.
The 2016 edition certainly did not disappoint, with Novak Djokovic producing one of his best performances of a below-par season to dismantle Milos Raonic in the final for the loss of just two games, capturing a record fifth Indian Wells title in the process.
For Djokovic, it was the third straight title of an event he has absolutely dominated in recent years, but the champion could not quite sustain the momentum through the year, as Djokovic suffered an alarming dip in form in the second half of 2016.
The Serbian is certain to try for an amazing sixth title in 2017, but with the opposition closing in, this could be his toughest challenge at the tournament since he began his streak in 2014.
Will Djokovic capture a record fourth straight Indian Wells title, and a sixth overall, or can Andy Murray win his first title in California?
Roger Federer celebrates winning his fourth Indian Wells Masters title in 2012 (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
One of nine Masters 1000 events on the ATP World Tour calendar, Indian Wells has evolved into the most-attended tournament outside the four Grand Slams since it was first played in 1976. Along with the event which follows it in Miami, Indian Wells is the only Masters event to boast a Grand Slam-sized draw of 128 players each year. Coupled with the fact that its location since 2000, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, boasts a 16,000-seat stadium which is the second largest tennis court in the world, and the BNP Paribas Open can truly lay claim to being one of the world’s biggest tennis events, if not the biggest, outside the Grand Slams and the season-ending championships.
Indian Wells’s primacy is backed up by its position on the calendar: The first Masters 1000 event of the season, it sits equidistant between the first and second Grand Slams of the year, January’s Australian Open and late May’s French Open. The BNP Paribas Open is also a major women’s event, with the women’s event initially played the week before the men’s before becoming a combined tournament in 1996. Between the biggest stars of the ATP and the WTA, the event attracted a record 431,527 fans in 2014, helped by the new 8,000-seat Stadium 2 court which opened for the first time that year.
Since six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker won the first of his back-to-back titles in 1987, the BNP Paribas Open has consistently featured the biggest stars, with many of the legends of men’s tennis lifting the trophy including Stefan Edberg (1990), Jim Courier (1991, 1993), Michael Chang (1992, 1996-7), Pete Sampras (1994-5) and Andre Agassi (2001).
Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the Indian Wells Masters in 2013 (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Like most of tennis’s biggest events, however, the Indian Wells Masters has been dominated by three names – Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – since 2004, with only one other player winning the title between 2004 and 2016. Ivan Ljubicic briefly interrupted the Djokovic-Nadal-Federer dominance in 2010 when the big-serving Croatian player defeated Andy Roddick in the final, but otherwise the Californian desert has been the scene of displays of greatness by Federer (2004-6, 2012), Nadal (2007, 2009 and 2013) and Djokovic (2008, 2011, 2014-16).
Djokovic holds the record for most Indian Wells titles with five, while he shares the record of three consecutive titles with Federer.
Djokovic, Murray, Nadal and Federer will again be the major drawcards in 2017 along with Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic, when the first Masters Series event of the year begins on March 6.
Watch and bet on all the best action from the BNP Paribas Open 2017 as it unfolds, live via mobile, computer or tablet, from March 6-19, 2017.