Tim Smyczek’s 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-5 victory over fellow American Sebastian Korda, current world junior No. 1 and the son of former Czech players Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtova, in the second round of men’s qualifying.
“You play your friends, you play people you know. It just happens. What we do here is a job. We do it for a living, so you can’t let it get in the way. I’ve played Reilly a couple of times. We had dinner the night before we played and we had dinner afterward, so there are no hard feelings. We compete on the court and literally right after it’s, ‘Where are we eating tonight?’”
— Taylor Fritz on his first-round matchup with fellow American and former junior rival Reilly Opelka
Knowing whereof she speaks, qualifier Vera Zvonareva, the 2009 BNP Paribas champ and a two-time Grand Slam finalist, said there is reason for qualifiers to be hopeful entering the main draw. “It’s not easy to play qualifying these days and you get players through who have already played in these conditions and they’re ready,” she said. “It’s a bit different than what was going on maybe 20 years ago when there was a big difference between top girls and the top 10, 20, 30 and the rest of the field. Now you take any top 300, 400 girls, everyone competes, everyone plays and you just have to be better that day.”
It was elbow to elbow at Roger Federer’s practice session, with fans lining up to catch a glimpse of the five-time defending champion.
A montage of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in full bloom on the eve of the tournament is 45 seconds you can almost smell through your screen.