My Day One at Indian Wells


This is a guest post by Ashley Ndebele, a tennis aficionado who speaks tennis fluently and has transcended her passion into her blog African Tennis Now, on account of which she got a pass for the BNP Paribas Open. Ashley was born and raised in Southern Africa, now lives in Southern California and has been spending two active days at Indian Wells. Enjoy Ashley’s Friday’s report from the event.

Serena on stadium 1 3:12:15
Stadium for Serena Williams’ first match at Indian Wells in 14 years

My Day 1 at the BNP Paribas Open was quite eventful. Since it was my first time here, I spent the first few hours getting the lay of the land, walking the grounds. Boy, it eats up quite a bit of land; it’s huge. No wonder they call it the 5th slam.

While walking around acclimating, I caught the last part of Simona Halep‘s match on the big screen. She was playing against Daria Gavrilova of Russia. She had lost the first set, but had taken the second one 6-1 and was up in the third. Her serving looked quite off today. She went on to win it 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

The main conversation all over the grounds was Serena Williiams. Everyone I came across was looking forward to her return after a 14-year boycott.

Kuznetsova at Indian Wells 3:12:15My first player sighting was Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic. This girl is tall. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to snap a photo of her, as she was rushing to enter the fitness center. I didn’t want to go paparazzi on her.

Sloane Stephens of Unites States and Angelique Kerber of Germany were playing at Stadium 1, which is the Centre Court. I took in some of their match. As you surely expected it, this was anyone’s match. Both these players can be unpredictable. Sloane won it 7-6(6), 6-2.

I tried to watch the Garbine Muguruza match on Stadium 4, but I did something very embarrassing. I was told to take any seat, so I walked over to sit at the one that was closest to me. I didn’t realize it was the player box, so I quickly found the exit and left. Garbine won the match 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 against American Irina Falconi.

Carla Suarez Navarro at Indian Wells on 3:12:15I would have loved to catch Agnieszka Radwanska‘s match, but I missed it. She won 6-3, 6-1 against American Alison Riske.

My next sighting was Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. She was heading to the gates, exiting. I tried to take a picture, but her wranglers (WTA stuff) weren’t having it. I did capture her back, though.

I also crossed paths with Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, as she was heading over to the locker room to get ready for her match. I asked her to smile for the camera and she did, as you can see.

To cap the night, I took the main feature, Serena’s match. She played against Monica Niculescu of Romania. Serena received an overwhelming applause. The jam-packed stadium roared as she was introduced by the announcer.

Photo Credit: Anita Stahl
Serena Williams

Something seemed off at the start of the match. She was very nervous, losing the first three opening games. She did slowly find her footing,  but committed a lot of errors. She took the first set 7-5, after trading breaks a couple of times. Monica played a match of her life today. She really took it to ReRe, but in the end, Serena did what she does best. Serena won it 7-5, 7-5.

Photo Credit: Anita Stahl

I’ll be at Indian Wells on Saturday as well, so stay tuned for the report from my Day 2. (Serena photo credit: Anita Stahl)


  1. Thank you for this report, Ashley, I enjoyed reading it. I loved the player box incident especially! 😀 Looking forward to the second one.

    I’m delighted for Sloane. The victory over Kerber has to be such a confidence boost although it has to be said that Kerber’s form hasn’t been the best lately. Anyway, I’m hoping Sloane is going to keep winning. Winnable match against Kuznetsova in the 3rd rnd.

  2. Thank you so much all. I’m having a blast @BNPPO15 and it’s a pleasure to contribute for this wonderful women tennis outlet these two great days!!!

  3. Very nice article! I really enjoy articles on venues where I can’t attend.
    People at Indian Wells may call their tournament the 5th Slam, but the real 5th Slam is Miami. Miami is now on the same level as IW but, unlike IW, Miami represents a large part of the world, namely Latin America.

  4. What I watch on TV at a WTA Tournament is that the women dress code is very, very tacky. The bra and stripes are a different color than the top (like black strapes showing and protuding from under a white top, or a red top, AND … and I mean, AND …. a different color for her pants than the color of the skirt …. REALLY, REALLY TACKY and SHOWING HER ASS and/or HER CROTCH. The women players seem to really have NO CLUE as what they look like on TV.
    It reminds me of a girl’s clothing going out the front door headed for elementary school. Nothing matches and presents a very, very unusually dressed child.

  5. I’m glad so many of you made a warm welcome for Ashley. I always like to welcome good guest bloggers, as I feel they provide a different vibe and a different point of view, thus enriching my blog’s content. Great job, Ashley!

    And JohnnyB, when I read Ashley’s sentence that IW is the 5th GS, I immediately thought of you and Miami 😀

    John Frank Burns, whom did you watch play? I think you’re going over the top. Many players are dressed beautifully.

  6. Loved the article! I kinda feel like I was walking the grounds with you since I’ve never been. Sounds like a lot of fun between sitings and matches. Great job reporting!

  7. Emman Damian, you’re welcome!

    Chika C, I’m glad to have teamed up with Ashley. She has enriched my blog with her genuine and personal approach to reporting.


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