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HISTORY, The Story behind the BNP Paribas Open, now the largest ATP in the world

HISTORY, The Story behind the BNP Paribas Open, now the largest ATP in the world

The BNP Paribas Open 2016  Set To Happen This March 7th -20th, the most-attended WTA Premier and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament in the world,

and the largest two-week combined event outside of the four Majors (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open), is held annually at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, one of the world's most beautiful tennis venues and has the second largest tennis stadium in the world. Humble Roots The tournament started as an ATP fundraising event in Tucson, Arizona, before moving to Mission Hills Country Club in the Coachella Valley in 1976, where it benefited from a successful five-year run. The event's connections with the Coachella Valley were nearly broken, however, when the ATP considered moving the ATP tennis tournament to a proposed tennis stadium to be built near Disney World in Florida.
 DJOKOVIC, NOVAK signing Autographs at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California Photo by Jim Civello/CoachellaValley.com

DJOKOVIC, NOVAK signing Autographs at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California Photo by Jim Civello/CoachellaValley.com

Charlie Pasarell, a native of Puerto Rico who had been the No. 1-ranked player in the U.S., was an ATP Board Member and the Director of Tennis for Landmark Land Co. He lobbied the ATP Board to keep the event in the Coachella Valley and convinced the owners of Landmark Land to build new tennis facilities at the famed La Quinta Hotel that were adequate for the event. Pasarell's efforts resulted in the tournament's move to La Quinta Hotel, a new 7,500-seat tennis stadium, and a commitment and vision to make the event one of the best in the world. When the event moved into its new home in 1981, Pasarell became the tournament director. It enjoyed success in the following years and had several noteworthy finals, the most memorable being the 1982 championship when Yannick Noah ended Ivan Lendl's winning streak of 44 matches, just two short of the men's record and in its’ last year at that site when local Larry Stefanki was given a wild card and won the 1985 title.
Rapid Growth It was Pasarell's goal for the tournament to grow into a major tennis event at which both top men's and women's competitions would take place during the same time period. To fulfill this goal, he implemented a plan that was simple in concept but difficult in execution – to build the event's popularity with the players, the fans, the sponsors and the media through great facilities, attention to detail, strong competition, and extensive print and broadcast coverage….despite its destination resort location. During the six years (1981 - 1986) the tournament was held in La Quinta, it indeed became a very popular tennis destination for the players, the fans, the sponsors and the media. In fact, the event achieved such success that it outgrew the tennis stadium and facilities at La Quinta Hotel. If Pasarell's goals were to be accomplished, and if the event were to strive for "major tennis event" status, he needed to build a larger, more modern and permanent tennis stadium with enhanced facilities. To construct the appropriate tennis stadium and facilities, Pasarell and long-time friend and former player Raymond Moore established a company known as PM Sports Management, and created a team along with other investors (including legendary entertainer Alan King) to design, develop and operate a luxurious resort hotel and tennis facility in nearby Indian Wells. Pasarell signed Newsweek as title sponsor and Indian Wells became home to the Newsweek Champions Cup.
2014 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California Photo by Jim Civello/CoachellaValley.com

2014 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California Photo by Jim Civello/CoachellaValley.com

Grand Champions In 1986, construction was completed on the 350-room Grand Champions Hotel (now known as the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa). Its centerpiece was a sophisticated tennis center with 12 courts including a 10,000-seat tennis stadium (with some 7,000 permanent seats and 12 private sponsor suites), a 3,000-seat clubhouse court, two grass courts and two clay courts. Other facilities included a 3,000 square foot retail sport boutique, a 1.62-acre hospitality village and an 8,000 square foot convention center that also served as a media facility, a player's lounge and a kitchen facility during the tournament. At the time it was completed, the stadium and facilities were truly state-of-the-art. The new stadium debuted in 1987, which was also the first year that a top women's professional competition (that year featuring now Hall of Famer Steffi Graf) was held in conjunction with the men's event, though not concurrently. This foreshadowed the combination of the men's and women's competitions that was essential to meeting Pasarell's goals. The tournament received significant national and international attention when Boris Becker won the first two events (1987 and 1988) held at the new stadium. The tournament took another crucial step forward in 1990 when the ATP, then under the leadership of Hamilton Jordan, restructured the men's tennis circuit and designated the Newsweek Champions Cup as one of the elite events on the ATP Tour in the category now known as the ATP Masters 1000 Series. The women's tournament went through a somewhat different evolution. Originally a non-sanctioned event, it became an official WTA tournament in 1989 in partnership with IMG. In 1992, the women's event was honored when Chris Evert agreed to attach her name to the competition, making it the Evert Cup. In 1997, it was designated as a "Tier 1" event, then the top WTA category. Until 1996, the women's event was held immediately prior, rather than concurrently, to the men's event. That situation changed, however, when the ATP and the WTA approved of combining the events. Thus the tournament, then with the somewhat unwieldy name of Newsweek Champions Cup/State Farm Evert Cup presented by Harman International, attained the lofty status of being one of only six tournaments in the world, including the four Majors, that was a combined men's and women's event.
2014 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California Photo by Jim Civello/CoachellaValley.com

2014 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California Photo by Jim Civello/CoachellaValley.com

A New Home This success had its price as the tournament quickly outgrew the Grand Champions grounds. Pasarell now dreamed of a new stadium that would serve as a showplace for the burgeoning event. He and his partner Moore pursued and found the perfect partners in Mark McCormack and Bob Kain, founder and then president respectively of IMG, the largest sports agency in the world, who could help make their vision a reality. Construction of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden was completed in 2000, and the state-of-the-art facility boasted a 16,100-seat stadium, the second largest in the world, and seven other match courts spread across 54 acres of lush landscape, which created a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. Another boost to the tournament came in the form of an increased playing field, which spawned additional days and sessions creating a full two-week event that was 21 sessions strong with both the men's and women's singles draws at 96 players, and 32-player doubles draws. While the tournament continued to grow, difficult economic times, and the implosion and bankruptcy of ISL, which had signed a $1 billion dollar sponsorship deal with the ATP’s Masters Series, left the tournament and the venue in a precarious position, but some of the biggest legends in the sport of tennis were ready to step in and play an important role in keeping the tournament in Indian Wells.
Roger Federer- 2014 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California Photo by Jim Civello/CoachellaValley.com

Roger Federer- 2014 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California Photo by Jim Civello/CoachellaValley.com

Bigger and Better In 2006, with IMG looking to sell its 50% interest in the tournament, Pasarell and Moore, with the help of new partners George Mackin and Bob Miller of Tennis Magazine and Patrick W. M. Imeson of Calim Private Equity, LLC, recruited a new team of investors, including the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and tennis legends Pete Sampras, Billie Jean King and Chris Evert, to acquire IMG’s portion of ownership. The tournament, which had interest from several overseas investors, was kept in the Coachella Valley because of this powerful and strategic tennis partnership. In addition, the City of Indian Wells displayed its unwavering commitment to the event by purchasing 27 acres of land adjacent to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The tournament continued to see growing attendance and exposure, but it was about to shift into overdrive and reach the heights it sits at today. The New Frontier The Indian Wells tennis tournament rang in the 2009 New Year by announcing the addition of BNP Paribas, the premier sponsor of tennis globally, as the new title sponsor of the event. To close 2009, the tournament announced that Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation, a man who has a passionate interest in the sport and a visionary, became the new owner of the event and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The tournament celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2010, and in his first few months as owner, Ellison coordinated the BNP Paribas Open "Hit for Haiti" exhibition, presented by Oracle, on the first Friday evening of the tournament. The event featured an incredible 94 Grand Slams titles on the same court with Steffi Graf and Lindsay Davenport taking on Martina Navratilova and Justine Henin in the first match, and Roger Federer and Pete Sampras playing Rafael Nadal and Andre Agassi in the second match.
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2014 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California Photo by Jim Civello/CoachellaValley.com

A comprehensive fundraising effort, led by Oracle, which included on-site, text messaging and private donations, resulted in $1 Million being donated to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development fund, which was established to help those impacted by the devastating earthquakes in January 2010 in Haiti. Continued Development & Growth Under the eyes of Ellison the BNP Paribas Open continued to set lofty goals and develop as a world-class international sporting event. In 2011, the tournament became and remains the only one in the world to offer the Hawkeye electronic line calling system on every match court. Additionally, in 2012 the event became the first and only ATP/WTA combined event to offer $1 Million in prize money to each of its singles champions. At the end of 2011, Pasarell left his position with the event. Over more than three and a half decades his incredible vision and foresight helped shape the event into what it has become today. In October of 2012, his former business partner Raymond Moore was announced as the new CEO of the tournament and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and Steve Simon was to continue his role as COO and Tournament Director. As part of that announcement Moore stated the goal was to attract 500,000 fans to the BNP Paribas Open in the near future. Achieving that objective seemed daunting, but a major announcement was waiting on the horizon. COACHELLA VALLEY’S TOP STORIES MORE STORIES THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND PHOTO GALLERIES OF ALL OUR SHOOTS
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal 2014 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California Photo by Jim Civello/CoachellaValley.com

Expansion & The Future The minute the final ball was struck at the conclusion of the 2013 tournament, a massive expansion project immediately began to renovate the existing site and more so implement the construction of a brand new 8,000-seat Stadium 2 to be completed by 2014. In a stunning 10 months and 10 days, the project was completed, thanks to an incredible team led by the tournament staff, Watkins Landmark Construction, Keisker & Wiggle Architects, and Dick Oliphant (Owner’s representative). Beyond the new Stadium 2, which features three permanent restaurants on the concourse level overlooking the on-court action and the grounds, including world-renowned Nobu, the site renovation included a new entrance off of Washington Avenue, a second 19,000 square foot shade structure adjacent to the first one that was installed in 2012, additional practice courts, and more. For the eighth straight year, the BNP Paribas Open broke its attendance record. The 2014 event welcomed 431,527 fans to the newly expanded Indian Wells Tennis Garden for two weeks of world-class tennis, including 31,764 for the day session on Saturday, March 8, which is also a record.
Looking back to 1982 and those humble beginnings it is incredible to see how far the event has come – tournament attendance has grown from 30,000 to more than 431,000; prize money has grown from $250,000 to more than $10 million; the television audience of the tournament has grown from 25 million homes to nearly one billion homes worldwide; and the facilities have grown from 7,500 seats to a 29-court, 54-acre complex including a 16,100-seat Stadium 1 and an 8,000-seat permanent Stadium 2. The future of the event looks incredibly promising, and new pages will continue to be added each year to the story of the tournament. The men’s entry list is led by World No. 1, and Defending BNP Paribas Open Champion Novak Djokovic (2008, 2011, 2014, 2015). The womans entry list was led by World No. 2 and former two-time BNP Paribas Open Champion Maria Sharapova (2006, 2013) and Simona Halep (2015) but since recent news, Serena Williams will now be attending and lead the woman's entry. All three will be appearing this year by the names listed below .  
MEN
ATP
 Player Name Nationality  Rank 
 DJOKOVIC, NOVAK  SRB
 MURRAY, ANDY  GRB
 FEDERER, ROGER  SUI
 WAWRINKA, STAN  SUI
 NADAL, RAFAEL  ESP
 BERDYCH, TOMAS  CZE
 NISHIKORI, KEI  JPN
 FERRER, DAVID  ESP
 GASQUET, RICHARD  FRA
 TSONGA, JO-WILFRIED  FRA 10 
 ISNER, JOHN  USA 11 
 ANDERSON, KEVIN  RSA 12
 CILIC, MARIN  CRO 13
 RAONIC, MILOS  CAN 14
 SIMON, GILLES  FRA 15
 GOFFIN, DAVID  BEL 16
 TOMIC, BERNARD  AUS 17
 PAIRE, BENOIT  FRA 18
 LOPEZ, FELICIANO  ESP 19
 THIEM, DOMINIC  AUT 20
 BAUTISTA AGUT, ROBERTO  ESP 21
 SOCK, JACK  USA 22
 FOGNINI, FABIO  ITA 23
 KARLOVIC, IVO  CRO 24
 MONFILS, GAEL  FRA 25
 TROICKI, VIKTOR  SRB 26
 GARCIA-LOPEZ, GUILLERMO  ESP 27
 DIMITROV, GRIGOR  BUL 28
 SEPPI, ANDREAS  ITA 29
 KYRGIOS, NICK  AUS 30
 CHARDY, JEREMY  FRA 31
 JOHNSON, STEVE  USA 32
 SOUSA, JOAO  POR 33
 KOHLSCHREIBER, PHILIPP  GER 34
 DOLGOPOLOV, ALEXANDR  UKR 35
 MAYER, LEONARDO  ARG 36
 BELLUCCI, THOMAZ  BRA 37
 MULLER, GILLES  LUX 38
 POSPISIL, VASEK  CAN 39
 TIPSAREVIC, JANKO  SRB 39*
 CORIC, BORNA  CRO 40
 CUEVAS, PABLO  URU 41
 KLIZAN, MARTIN  SVK 43
 GABASHVILI, TEYMURAZ  RUS 44
 VERDASCO, FERNANDO  ESP 45
 BAGHDATIS, MARCOS  CYP 46
 YOUNG, DONALD  USA 47
 MANNARINO, ADRIAN  FRA 48
 BEDENE, ALJAZ  GBR 49
 VESELY, JIRI  CZE 50
 ROSOL, LUKAS  CZE 51
 CHUNG, HYEON  KOR 52
 DELBONIS, FEDERICO  ARG 53
 MONACO, JUAN  ARG 54
 ESTRELLA BURGOS, VICTOR  DOM 55
 JANOWICZ, JERZY  POL 56
 LORENZI, PAOLO  ITA 57
 QUERREY, SAM  USA 58
 ISTOMIN, DENIS  UZB 59
 STAKHOVSKY, SERGIY  UKR 60
 RAMOS-VINOLAS, ALBERT  ESP 61
 ANDUJAR, PABLO  ESP 62
 MAHUT, NICOLAS  FRA 63
 BOLELLI, SIMONE  ITA 64
 HAASE, ROBIN  NED 65
 HAIDER-MAURER, ANDREAS  AUT 66
 GROTH, SAM  AUS 67
 CARRENO BUSTA, PABLO  ESP 68
 KUDLA, DENIS  USA 69
 GIRALDO, SANTIAGO  COL 70
 MUÑOZ DE LA NAVA, DANIEL  ESP 71
 CERVANTES, INIGO  ESP 72
 ALMAGRO, NICOLAS  ESP 73
 KUZNETSOV, ANDREY  RUS 74
 PELLA, GUIDO  ARG 75
 MARCHENKO, ILLYA  UKR 76
 LAJOVIC, DUSAN  SRB 77
 DODIG, IVAN  CRO 78
 
WOMEN
 Player Name Nationality  Rank 
 WILLIAMS, SERENA  USA 1
 HALEP, SIMONA  ROU
 MUGURUZA, GARBIÑE  ESP
 RADWANSKA, AGNIESZKA  POL 4
 SHARAPOVA, MARIA  RUS 5
 KERBER, ANGELIQUE  GER 6
 KVITOVA, PETRA  CZE 7
 SAFAROVA, LUCIE  CZE 9
 WILLIAMS, VENUS  USA 10
 SUÁREZ NAVARRO, CARLA  ESP 11
 PLISKOVA, KAROLINA  CZE 12
 BENCIC, BELINDA  SUI 13
 BACSINSZKY, TIMEA  SUI 14
 VINCI, ROBERTA  ITA 15
 AZARENKA, VICTORIA  BLR 16
 KEYS, MADISON  USA 17
 WOZNIACKI, CAROLINE  DEN 18
 ERRANI, SARA  ITA 19
 KUZNETSOVA, SVETLANA  RUS 20
 SVITOLINA, ELINA  UKR 21
 JANKOVIC, JELENA  SRB 22
 IVANOVIC, ANA  SRB 23
 MAKAROVA, EKATERINA  RUS 24
 PETKOVIC, ANDREA  GER 25
 STEPHENS, SLOANE  USA 26
 STOSUR, SAMANTHA  AUS 27
 PENG, SHUAI  CHN 27*
 PAVLYUCHENKOVA, ANASTASIA  RUS 28
 SCHMIEDLOVA, ANNA KAROLINA  SVK 29
 MLADENOVIC, KRISTINA  FRA 30
 BEGU, IRINA-CAMELIA  ROU 31
 LISICKI, SABINE  GER 32
 CORNET, ALIZÉ  FRA 33
 GARCIA, CAROLINE  FRA 34
 TSURENKO, LESIA  UKR 35
 GIORGI, CAMILA  ITA 36
 BOUCHARD, EUGENIE  CAN 37
 CIBULKOVA, DOMINIKA  SVK 38
 GAVRILOVA, DARIA  AUS 39
 NICULESCU, MONICA  ROU 40
 WICKMAYER, YANINA  BEL 41
 VANDEWEGHE, COCO  USA 42
 VAN UYTVANCK, ALISON  BEL 43
 BARTHEL, MONA  GER 44
 GOERGES, JULIA  GER 45
 PEREIRA, TELIANA  BRA 46
 KONTA, JOHANNA  GBR 47
 STRYCOVA, BARBORA  CZE 48
 BRENGLE, MADISON  USA 49
 LARSSON, JOHANNA  SWE 50
 LEPCHENKO, VARVARA  USA 51
 PUIG, MONICA  PUR 52
 HRADECKA, LUCIE  CZE 53
 KOVINIC, DANKA  MNE 54
 BECK, ANNIKA  GER 55
 HIBINO, NAO  JPN 56
 CETKOVSKA, PETRA  CZE 56*
 DIYAS, ZARINA  KAZ 57
 GASPARYAN, MARGARITA  RUS 58
 ROBSON, LAURA  GBR 58*
 BABOS, TIMEA  HUN 60
 DULGHERU, ALEXANDRA  ROU 61
 WITTHOEFT, CARINA  GER 62
 MATTEK-SANDS, BETHANIE  USA 63
 DOI, MISAKI  JPN 64
 VOSKOBOEVA, GALINA  KAZ 64*
 MCHALE, CHRISTINA  USA 65
 ALLERTOVA, DENISA  CZE 66
 TOMLJANOVIC, AJLA  CRO 67
 LUCIC-BARONI, MIRJANA  CRO 68
 KASATKINA, DARIA  RUS 69
 SHVEDOVA, YAROSLAVA  KAZ 70
 GOVORTSOVA, OLGA  BLR 71
 HERCOG, POLONA  SLO 72
 MARIA, TATJANA  GER 73
 KING, VANIA  USA 73*
1-800-999-1585Tickets On Sale Now ! Visit http://www.bnpparibasopen.com/ For More Info. Steve Simon, Director of the BNP Paribas Open RELATED STORIES:

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