This year's edition of the BNP Paribas Open feels a little strange and it's not just because the event is being played in the fall compared to its usual run in March. The combined ATP-WTA 1000 event is also missing a handful of top players that have graced the tournament on numerous occasions in the past, but they certainly aren't forgotten.
Just outside of Stadium 2 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is a beautiful grass wall inscribed with "We miss you" in cursive. Life-size cutouts of the world's best that aren't at this season's tournament are spread all across it.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty make up the melancholy meets delightful row. These Grand Slam champions may not be present, but fans are absolutely taking what they can get at this point. making for the perfect social post.
Few sad faces were spotted from people posing with their favorite players. It is after all still Tennis Paradise and the event is expected to return to its normal spot on the calendar next year. If we're fortunate, these absent champions won't need a wall to be represented then.