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The dates have changed, but players say the rest is largely the same at the rescheduled BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

The 12-day ATP and WTA tournament was cancelled in 2020 and delayed more than six months this season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The biggest different is the weather, according to those competing.

“I mean, definitely the conditions are different, because normally we play in March, and it's way cooler than now,'' said Matteo Berrettini, speaking to press during the tournament. "The conditions are desert, so the air is pretty dry. The ball is flying sometimes but the ball is so slow, courts are pretty slow, so it's a little bit tricky at the beginning, but then you get used to it.

“So, I think these are the normal conditions that I always found here, and, yeah, it's just warmer.”

Those that have enjoyed success at the event seem to like the conditions, with quarterfinalist Diego Schwartzman even suggesting to the crowd that it should stay in this spot.

“Obviously I was joking a little bit, you know, because I am doing great, but yeah—few more degrees, different conditions, different weather, obviously it's changing the conditions for our game," said Schwartzman. "I think the ball, it is jumping a little less, so for me it's helping.

“I have a lot of opportunities to play the point, to make good points and have the decision every game to where I'm deciding to hit the ball.”


Diego Schwartzman made his first Indian Wells quarterfinal this week, and was among the players most vocally pleased with the autumn conditions in the desert.

Diego Schwartzman made his first Indian Wells quarterfinal this week, and was among the players most vocally pleased with the autumn conditions in the desert.

The conditions have nevertheless appeared to suit different games, with players like Schwartzman, Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev, and Cameron Norrie all reaching the quarterfinals in the men's draw, along with Ons Jabeur, Paula Badosa, Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber on the women's side.

So much else is similar that players sometimes find it tough to remember that the tournament has changed dates.

"I think it feels the same. For me sometimes it's a little bit tricky because I still think we’re about to go to Miami," laughed Kerber, referring to the Miami Open tournament that usually follows Indian Wells. "This is the only thing which is just a little bit different to the normal schedule of this tournament."

But the change in schedule has also placed the tournament in a more pressure-packed section of the season, with players vying to qualify for the ATP or WTA Finals in a few weeks.

Attendance has also been down during what is a quieter tourist period for the region. The tournament drew more than 475,000 spectators in 2019, but will only have around 50 percent of that record figure this time around, according to the New York Times.

But following all the disruption tennis events have experienced, players are happy to compete in the desert for the first time since 2019—and with the same level of prize money.

"I'm just honestly very glad that we do have a tournament," said Azarenka.

The tournament plans to move back to this regular position in the schedule in 2022.