Perspective on the emergence of ‘Tennis Paradise’
USTA Southern California |
Saturday was time for a walkabout at the BNP Paribas Open. There was a day and age where you could do this quickly, where you could breeze from one court to another and on to a stand for a quick hamburger.
There is very little breezing now, especially on the annual busiest day of the tennis tournament, the first Saturday. It is very clear that Larry Ellison has taken Charlie Pasarell’s grand idea and made it grandiose. That’s not a bad thing, certainly. But look at it this way. There was a time when the 405 freeway was also a grand idea.
This is not to say that the thing tournament marketers are now officially labeling Tennis Paradise—after years of various writers calling it exactly that–is in gridlock. It’s just not quite the same walk in the park on a sunny day. Saturday, it was more like an obstacle course.ADVERTISEMENT
This is a tough balance. Twenty years ago, Pasarell had this marvelous tour stop right down the road from here called the Grand Champions. It was a large, mostly temporary stadium on the grounds of a hotel called the Hyatt Grand Champions. Everybody loved it, including the players. Pasarell, unlike anybody else, quickly saw that it was too small. Presto: The Indian Wells Tennis Garden and the second largest tennis stadium in the country.