If you are heading to the desert for some tennis viewing over the next 12 days, get ready for more of the same. In the case of the prestigious
There will be some radical differences in the physical plant, where there has been an estimated $70 million in improvements, including a new enclosed Stadium 2, plus palm trees and walkways and shady areas galore.
This event, designated by the pro tours as the next notch below the four majors and bringing near-mandatory participation, has generally taken the approach of sparing no expense to get better. That has been the case since it moved to its massive 16,100-seat Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the 2000 tournament.
To justify that, it has — by mandate of the men and women's tour and by the interest level it creates — attracted the top stars in the game. That's where fans may see a lot of the same faces in big matches.
On the men's side, three players have won all but one of the titles in the last 10 years. Those three,
Federer, 32, won in 2004, '05, '06 and 2012. Nadal won in '07, '09 and last year, Djokovic in '08 and 2011.
The women's side has been less predictable, especially since Venus and
The other Australian champion, Switzerland's
Federer won last week at Dubai, beating Berdych in the final, and has now won at least one tour title in each of the last 14 years.
The tournament will begin with the women's main draw Wednesday. The men's main draw is Thursday. The event heads to its high-profile ending a weekend hence, with women's semifinals and men's quarterfinals on a busy March 14, men's and women's doubles finals and men's semifinals the next day and men's and women's finals on Sunday.