This is our third year to attend the Paribas Tournament in Palm Springs. Over time we have figured out a few things.
First, while we can take the first flight out of Oklahoma City to Palm Springs and drive to the Tennis Gardens in Indian Wells in time for all but the first ten minutes of the first match Friday morning, it does not seem conducive to any kind of vacation. Better to go ahead and take that same flight the day before and give yourself a day to recover enough to enjoy the tennis next day.
Secondly, always stay at the La Quinta resort. We have stayed at the three main venues associated with the tournament and each has its own points, good and bad. Overall, Dana likes La Quinta the best and sees no reason why we should not make it our home for a few days each year. She says we do not need to discuss this any more than that.
This year we arrived on Thursday. We hoped to spend the day soaking up some rays and relaxing by the pool, but arrived to find our room not ready and temperatures in the forties with little bits of rain. We found a very nice French bistro for lunch, then got our room and slept for four hours.
The Homewood Suites offers the least expensive option at the tournament. It is also the closest to the tennis garden, only a ten minute walk. We never had to worry about parking or moving our car. However, the grounds are not attractive as the other recommended hotels. Dana found she really missed the milieu at La Quinta. We ended up driving over there twice and had dinner there once.
Breakfast at Homewood is quite decent and very easy. They have a very good staff working to make sure everything runs smoothly. The rooms are nicely appointed, though nothing overly fancy. It was quiet there and quite comfortable. And as stated, the walk to the tournament is quick and easy. That is the most compelling attribute of this place.
The grounds at the Indian Wells Tennis Center are wonderful and quite familiar by now. The weather on Friday was cool and windy. They expected a high of 58°. I am fairly confident they didn't get above that. We were dressed for cold weather at home and it worked out about right.
Isner and Querrey played Ferrer and Robredo in a very fun match on one of the side courts. Our guys won, but it wasn't always clear that would happen. The Americans were physically huge compared to the Spaniards, and they pretty much reach any ball. Isner has an amazing serve that seemed to be the real differentiator in the match.
After a quick lunch, we ran over to the main stadium to catch the end of James Blake's match against Haase (Blake won) and see Sharapova vs. Schiavone. Schiavone can usually be counted on to come out strong, but Sharapova left her in the dust.
Dinner (at La Quinta Resort!), then back to the stadium for Radwanska against a new American, Sanchez. Radwanska won that one handily.
Then the real match of the day! The Bryan brothers against Cilic and Erlich. (Really, we just wanted to see the Bryans. It was great. Despite it becoming so very, very cold (Dana had a blanket she used as a scarf on top of her heavy coat and another blanket wrapped around her knees. She was either fairly comfortable or on the verge of hypothermia... She kept falling asleep!), the match was very entertaining. So fast! Now they get to go against Isner and Querrey. We hope to get to see that one while we are here.
[gallery columns="5" ids="283,276,280,294,293,290,286,313,278,282"]