From Serena Williams retiring early from the tournament to fans getting autographs from their tennis idols, these are the moments from week one of BNP
In an effort to enhance the fan experience at the BNP Paribas Open, organizers at the Indian Wells tennis tournament brought in a stadium production team that had previously worked the World Series, the Super Bowl and other major sporting events in the United States.
A disc jockey also was brought in to create a livelier atmosphere at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, and players were asked about their preferred walk-out music as they entered Stadium 1.
The tournament quickly found out that most players were into it, and during this year’s BNP Paribas Open, players have hand-picked their walk-out music into Stadium 1.
From Elina Svitolina walking out to Eminem to Naomi Osaka hearing J. Cole as she walks onto Stadium Court, the eclectic mix gives fans further insight into what a player likes to hear before they go to work.
Sloane Stephens didn’t last long at this year’s BNP Paribas Open, but it’s unlikely that walking out to Cardi B’s “Money” had anything to do with that. Petra Kvitova, another top 10 player who was eliminated early, walked out to “Shallow,” the song sung by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the 2018 film “A Star is Born.” Part of the film was shot at the nearby Empire Polo Club in Indio.
Kei Nishikori walked out to Maroon 5 and Angelique Kerber mixed it up and walked out to Ed Sheeran, then Imagine Dragon’s “Bad Liar.”
Stan Wawrinka walked out to Aerosmith’s Walk this Way prior to his match against countryman Roger Federer on Tuesday. Federer has previously walked out to everything from “Sabatoge” by the Beastie Boys to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”
This week, Dominic Thiem chose the Chainsmoker’s “Closer,” and Philipp Kohlschreiber walked out to Journey’s “World’s Apart” before he upset top-ranked Novak Djokovic.
Kyle Edmund walked out to Queen’s “We are the Champions” for his first match ever on Stadium Court here at Indian Wells. It didn’t end well, though. He promptly lost to Federer, 6-1, 6-4.
Few players, surprisingly, have selected the same song over the course of the tournament. The one song that has been repeated a few times? Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” of course.
Both second-ranked Simona Halep and American Steve Johnson were among the players to pick that song. On Friday, March 8, Halep explained why she did:
“Sometimes I listen to it and it motivates me,” she said. “So, when they asked me, I chose it, and today I was really smiling in my head when I heard it. It was nice, nice moment.”
Unfortunately for Halep, the moment didn’t last. Four days later, she walked out to the song again before losing in three sets to unseeded Marketa Vondrousova.