What Is The BNP Paribas Open?
Every year, professional tennis players compete in Masters 1000 (men’s) and WTA 1000 (women’s) tournaments as part of their major international touring schedules. The most popular of these Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 events is the BNP Paribas Open, also known as the Indian Wells Masters. It is so popular that it is sometimes even called “the fifth Grand Slam.” Read on to learn all about the BNP Paribas Open.
- Venue: Indian Wells Tennis Garden
- Location: Indian Wells, California
- First Held: 1974
- Most Wins: Roger Federer & Novak Djokovic (5), Martina Navratilova, Mary Joe Fernandez, Steffi Graf, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Daniela Hantuchová, Maria Sharapova, & Victoria Azarenka (2)
- Prize Pool: $17.8 million
The BNP Paribas Open began as solely a men’s singles and doubles tennis tournament in 1974, then called the American Airlines Tennis Games. The tournament and its rules have remained fairly the same but has moved location and changed names many times over the years. It was first held in Tucson, Arizona for two years and then switched to several venues in California.
In 1987, the tournament moved to Indian Wells, California, the city in which it is still hosted today. After seven name changes, it also finally settled on the name BNP Paribas Open. Partially due to this shifting name, the tournament is commonly known as the Indian Wells Masters.
In 1989, a women’s singles and women’s doubles event as part of the WTA Tour was added. That event also went through a series of seven name changes, first being called the Virginia Slims of Indian Wells, and eventually landed on the BNP Paribas Open. Like the men’s singles event, the women’s singles event is also commonly called the Indian Wells Masters. In 1996, the men’s and women’s events were combined into a week-long event.
The singles format of the BNP Paribas Open is a knockout tournament that has qualifying rounds, preliminary rounds, quarterfinals, semifinals, and then a finals match. While the 32 top-seeded players automatically get to the second round, the other 96 players must compete against one another in the first round for their chance to progress. The winner of each match then faces off one another until there are two final players in the championship round. This format is the same for both men’s singles and women’s singles.
The format of the doubles tournament at BNP Paribas Open follows a similar format to the single’s events, except there is no top-seeded bye. Instead, 32 pairs (64 players total) compete against one another in a knockout tournament in qualifying rounds, preliminary rounds, quarterfinals, semifinals, and then a finals match. This format is the same for both men’s doubles and women’s doubles.
As part of the Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 tours, the BNP Paribas Open awards players up to 1000 points based on their performance. Each player or pair is given points for their respective tour in the following format for the last six rounds:
Both the men’s singles and women’s singles event each include 96 players in a 128-player grid, with the 32 seeded players getting a free pass to the second round. This means the 32 highest players do not need to play until the second round while the others must compete against one another first to face them. The 32 pairs (64 players total) participating in each doubles tournament do not have a bye system but use a draw to determine their initial matches.
What is the Indian Wells Masters?
The Indian Wells Masters is another popular name for the BNP Paribas Open. The nickname is based on Indian Wells, California, the city in which the tournament has been held since 1987. It also now references the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the stadium built in 2000 that also houses the annual Masters tournament.
Who has won the most BNP Paribas Open titles?
The men’s singles players with the most BNP Paribas Opens wins are Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who each won the tournament five times. For the women’s singles tournament, nine different women have won twice, including Martina Navratilova, Mary Joe Fernandez, Steffi Graf, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Daniela Hantuchová, Maria Sharapova, and Victoria Azarenka.