The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells gets underway starting March 7.
It is easy to see that the 36-year-old tournament has grown into a major attraction for tennis fans in this country as the stands and grounds become packed with spectators each year when March rolls around.
Some tennis aficionados have grown so enamored with the annual event, they now call it California’s version of a fifth major.
This year’s Masters Series 1000 Tournament, whose inaugural event took place in 1976, is now held annually at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens after several location changes during its history.
It features both a men’s and a women’s draw with the top players attending, hoping to add this prestigious title to their respective resumes.
For the ladies' field, the tournament gradually evolved into a top tier event. In the beginning, it was non-sanctioned. It became, however, an official WTA Tour event in 1991.
Initially, the women’s tournament preceded the men’s, but in 1996, tournament sponsors along with the WTA and ATP decided to hold both competitions concurrently.
Unlike the men, the women have no player who has won this tournament three times.
In the women’s competition, however, seven players have won the tournament twice—Daniela Hantuchova 2002 and 2007, Kim Clijsters 2003 and 2005, Serena Williams 1999 and 2001, Lindsay Davenport 1997 and 2000, Steffi Graf 1994 and 1996, Mary Jo Fernandez 1993 and 1995 and Martina Navratilova 1990-1991.
Who will add to these totals in 2011?