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The last ball has been struck, the championship points done and dusted, and the trophies have been raised. Another grand edition of the BNP Paribas Open is in the books, but before we turn our attention to the rest of the 2024 tennis season, let us run through the high points once more. 

Without any further ado, here are 24 thoughts on the BNP Paribas Open fortnight that was. 

1. Queen Iga Reigns 

She’s still 22, has only appeared in four BNP Paribas Open main draws, and already Iga Swiatek is tied for the most women’s singles titles all-time with nine other legends. The Polish tour de force stormed through the event to the tune of just 21 games dropped (the lowest total since 1994), defeating Maria Sakkari in the final, 6-4, 6-0, for her 19th career title on championship Sunday. 

Next year the 22-year-old Pole will set her sights on becoming the first woman to defend the Indian Wells women’s singles title since 1991. We think she has it in her…

2. Alcaraz Is Back (to back)! 

Back-to-back, that’s a fact! Carlos Alcaraz hit his stride once again in the California desert, snapped the 19-match winning streak of his rival Jannik Sinner in the semifinals, then completed his successful title defense with a 7-6(5), 6-1 triumph over Daniil Medvedev in a rematch of last year’s final. 

Alcaraz is the first player to successfully defend an Indian Wells singles title since Novak Djokovic in 2016.

3. From Qualies To Lucky Loser Infamy 

After Luca Nardi lost a three-setter to David Goffin in the final round of qualifying, the 20-year-old Italian found his way into the main draw as a Lucky Loser. Even luckier, he went straight to the second-round, taking the place of Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry, the No.30 seed. Then things got crazy as Nardi stunned Djokovic in the third round, the World No.123 becoming the lowest-ranked player to ever defeat the 24-time major champion at a Masters 1000 or Grand Slam event. 

“What can I say? Yesterday night I was dreaming about it, I was speaking with the coaches and dreaming about – now it’s real!” Nardi said after writing the fairy tale script of the 2024 BNP Paribas Open.

4. American Men Carve A Streak Worth Celebrating 

Four semifinals in a row for American men at the BNP Paribas Open. That’s a streak worth cheering for. There are currently five American men aged 26 or younger inside the ATP’s Top 30 and they all came to Indian Wells hoping to make some noise. This year it was No.17 seed Tommy Paul who broke through and reached the final four. The stars and stripes are becoming a fixture on championship weekend, and that’s something American fans can get excited about. 

5. Novak Returns!

Though his stay in Tennis Paradise didn’t last as long as he would have liked, it was brilliant to see five-time champion Djokovic return to the BNP Paribas Open for the first time since 2019. There’s just a different vibe around the grounds when a legend like the 24-time Grand Slam champion is in the house. 

Fans who flooded the practice courts to get a glimpse of the living legend in person, and the ones who packed Stadium 1 for his matches, surely agree.

6. Queen Vee Graces Us With Her Presence 

Living legend Venus Williams continues to amaze, the seven-time Grand Slam champion defying age as she guns for victories on the WTA Tour. This year in the California desert 43-year-old Williams was the oldest player – by far – in either draw. She took a set before bowing out to Japan’s Nao Hibino, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0. 

Will we see Venus in 2025? We can only hope… 

7. Rivalry Renewed - Alcaraz And Sinner Meet Again 

Alcaraz and Sinner's eighth head-to-head meeting and second at Indian Wells brought the buzz to Stadium 1 on semifinal Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open. It was Alcaraz who snapped a two-match losing streak against his rival to reach the final (1-6, 6-2, 6-3), but the fans were the true beneficiaries here. Breathtaking tennis was played in the eighth installment of a rivalry that has captivated the sport – bring on No. 9! 

8. Many Happy Returns – Coco Turns 20 

American Coco Gauff closed the books on her dreamy teenage years in style this year, becoming the youngest woman to reach the BNP Paribas Open semifinals since her idol Serena Williams in 2001. Even in defeat, the 20-year-old showed her courage and will to win in an epic three-set defeat to Sakkari in the semis. 

It’s just the beginning of a brilliant Indian Wells body of work for the 20-year-old. 

9. Drama And Suspense? Yes, Please

It wouldn’t be the BNP Paribas Open without a few miracle match point saves. Aryna Sabalenka played the starring role in the match of the tournament, saving four match points in a second-round clash against Peyton Stearns in what was the most dramatic cliffhanger of the tournament (but not the only one – there were many). 

“This match definitely goes into the book of craziest matches and the best matches of my career,” the two-time Grand Slam champion said afterwards. 

10. Emma's Star Turn 

British star Emma Raducanu made a run to the third round for the second consecutive year at Tennis Paradise, but another Emma made even bigger headlines. 

Enter Emma Navarro, the rising American who made a memorable run to the quarterfinals, defeating No.2-seeded Sabalenka along the way as she moved up to No.20 in the live rankings. The 22-year-old is looking like a future Top 10 talent – and potential champion – in Tennis Paradise, and fans who watched her this year can say they knew her when she was under the radar. 

11. Player Lawn Life 

Our annual nod to the greatest tradition in tournament tennis: the player lawn at Tennis Paradise. Is there a better vibe in all of tennis? Clearly our fans don’t think so. They come out in droves, packing the practice courts that surround the lawn, and the fence that lines the walkway along the grass, while the smiling faces of our youngest fans move in for autographs from their favorite stars. 

12. You Gotta Beelieve

When bees attacked Alcaraz and swarmed the spidercam on Stadium 1 during the Spaniard’s victory over Alexander Zverev in Thursday’s quarterfinals, beekeeper Lance Davis saved the day. He became an instant hero as well, one whose name will be forever etched into the BNP Paribas Open annals. Thanks for the unbee-lievable effort, Lance! 

13. Magicians Of Yesteryear 

37-year-old Gael Monfils wowed the fans with underarm serves, hot shots and charisma as he made his way into the round of 16 as the oldest player to progress that far this year. Monfils, and ATP peers Stan Wawrinka (37), Andy Murray (36) and Djokovic (36), all demonstrated the qualities that fans most adore: passion for the sport. More on ageless wonders down the page. 

14. We Built It, You Came 

493,440 fans came through the gates of Tennis Paradise – another tournament record! The middle weekend in Tennis Paradise (Friday, March 8 through Sunday, March 10) saw 162,758 fans on-site at the event. The most-attended day (40,805) and night sessions (15,483) of the tournament both took place on Saturday, March 9.

As the players often say: none of this would be possible without you! We take our tennis – and fun – seriously at the BNP Paribas Open, and we’re glad you do too! 

15. Marta’s Breakthrough 

Tennis is a love sport, and that is truer than ever for Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk, who was married last season and says that the experience has played a role in her rise this year. 

“It’s very cool, because it’s another responsibility in life and it gives you a lot of power when you know you can take this responsibility and hold it,” Kostyuk, a first-time semifinalist at the BNP Paribas Open this year, said of her marriage. “A lot of people are running away from it, I would say – doesn’t matter if it’s about marriage, just in general.”  

16. Mixed Makes The Scene 

For the first time ever at the BNP Paribas Open, and at any Masters 1000 event, mixed doubles was a part of championship weekend. Australia’s Storm Hunter and Matthew Ebden took the title, defeating France’s Caroline Garcia and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in a Friday final (they took home an extra $20,000 each for their hard work). 

“We had a lot of fun,” Hunter said after winning the title. “You want to play on the biggest courts in the biggest tournaments. To play on Stadium 1 and have those moments is really special, and moments you kind of remember in your career.”

17. Moms Made A Big Difference 

It was a mom bonanza at this year’s BNP Paribas Open with seven moms competing in the main draw, five of whom won at least a match. 33-year-old Caroline Wozniacki was the last mom standing after an inspiring run to the quarterfinals. 

In total, the seven moms in this year’s draw – also included were Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka, Elina Svitolina, Tatjana Maria and Taylor Townsend – boasted 10 Grand Slam titles, and 92 tour-level titles.

18. Tiebreak Tens 

Eight star-studded mixed doubles pairings took center stage on the evening before the main draw started at Tennis Paradise. No games. No sets. JUST TIEBREAKS. 

It was the American tandem of Ben Shelton and Navarro who took the title, earning the  $200,000 in total prize money that comes along with winning the event. More important? All ticket sales and proceeds from the event will be donated to The Champions Volunteer Foundation – the official non-profit arm of the BNP Paribas Open that supports local charities and organizations throughout the Coachella Valley.

19. Big Ben Booming  

21-year-old Shelton made a strong impression in his second BNP Paribas Open appearance. He fell to Sinner in straight sets in the Round of 16, but managed to give fans a glimpse of his electrifying tennis, including a 150 MPH serve – the fastest of the fortnight. Will Shelton, a former NCAA champion at the University of Florida and the current World No.16, be the next American men’s singles champion at Tennis Paradise? 

20. Ageless Hsieh Su-Wei’s Fourth BNP Open Triumph

Last year Rohan Bopanna made history when he became the oldest-ever Masters 1000 doubles champion, winning the title with Ebden. This year it was Hsieh Su-Weis turn. The 38-year-old paired with Elise Mertens to win her fourth BNP Paribas Open title, defeating Katerina Siniakova and Sanders in the final, 6-3, 6-4. 

Hsieh’s four doubles titles rank third on the all-time women’s doubles title list in Tennis Paradise, behind only Lisa Raymond (6) and Lindsay Davenport (6). 

21. The Next Generation Of Stars Shines In The Desert

The second annual FILA International Junior Championships were held on site this year, with this year’s winners receiving qualifying wild cards in 2025. American Valerie Glozman took the Girls singles title, while another American, Rudy Quan, won the Boys singles crown. 

A great tradition, with great champions…We can't wait to see them compete next year.

22. You’ll Be Missed, Danielle Collins! 

One of the grittiest competitors of her generation, Danielle Collins is an inspiring leader among her compatriots and a former World No.7 who reached the Australian Open just two years ago. This year the American called it quits on her amazing career, saying farewell to Indian Wells after falling to Swiatek in the second round. 

Fans won’t get to see her dynamic brand of tennis on the court anymore in Southern California, but we’ll surely be seeing “Danimal” around. 

“I would like to help the game as much as I can and give back and especially for the younger players to be someone that can kind of help them through the challenging times,” she said after her final match. 

23. Andy Murray Farewell? 

Speaking of farewells, have we seen the last of three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray? The Great Brit is keeping his retirement plans on the down low, but he has said that he only plans to play on for a few more months. 

We’re thankful to have a classy veteran like Murray grace our courts. His run to the 2009 BNP Paribas Open final was incredible, and every time he stepped on the court in the California desert he gave everything he had in pursuit of victory. A legend through and through… 

24. Stars Came Out To Play 

Zendaya, Rod Laver, Will Ferrell, Maria Sharapova, Tom Holland, Tracy Austin, Charlize Theron… from Hollywood royalty to tennis royalty the BNP Paribas Open always attracts a buzz. You never know who you might run into when you pass through the gates at Tennis Paradise! 

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