Not one, but two Masters tournaments, the firsts of the year.
The only ATP events of the month, both centered in the sunshine of the United States.
These are the last hard courts before spring ushers in the clay. No more of the artificial, punishing surfaces until the tour heads back to North America in late July. Many, indeed, will postpone their transfer from the all-too-brief grass season until August.
So it is little wonder that Indian Wells and its Miami sister two weeks later draw the big names, the big crowds, the big coverage.
Indian Wells, in particular, is set like a sapphire in the Californian desert, a jewel in the tennis crown. More people soak up the tennis at this tournament than anywhere outside the Grand Slams.
It’s a place drenched in blue, wholly in tune with its watery origins. This most favored stop on the tennis tour, attracting the very best from both the ATP and WTA tours, offers a serene mountainous backdrop, cloudless skies, dry heat, clear air. It’s as close to paradise as wealth can bring to the desert.
More than 300,000 flock to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. It overflows with tropical flowers, trees, and fountains, and the courts themselves sit like miniature Aegean Seas within their grass-green surroundings.
The pale violet and blue peaks of the distant Santa Rosa range provide a glorious setting as this oasis bursts into flower.
Here are five blooms that promise a particularly heady scent.