The men’s doubles draw at the BNP Paribas Open features a deep field headlined by Americans Mike and Bob Bryan, who won their first Indian Wells title last year, adding to their impressive collection of 94 titles.
It also includes a list of accomplished doubles players, including 2013 US Open champions Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, and the Austrian-Brazilian pairing of Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares.
An elite field on its own, the Indian Wells doubles draw also offers a rare treat: players who don’t normally play doubles partner up at this event. In 2014, 11 of the top 16 singles seeds – including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Juan Monaco, Gael Monfils, Milos Raonic, had entered to play in the BNP Paribas Open doubles draw.
For Federer, paired with countryman Stanislas Wawrinka, the tournament’s unique scheduling is what attracts him to play doubles at this ATP Masters 1000 event.
“This is a tournament you see many of the other top guys are playing together because there is a bit more time between matches anyways at times.”
Federer also used his doubles match to test out the Indian Wells Tennis Garden’s new Stadium 2.
“I requested to stay on Stadium 2, to be honest, just to see how it was going to be. I'm happy we did,” said Federer. “I don't know if it was sold out, but it felt like very, very full.
“That was a perfect setup, [for the match],” Federer added. “We can thank the tournament and Larry Ellison for building such a court so quickly.”
The fans also appreciate this unique set-up. It’s not a surprise for stadiums at the Indian Wells tournament to reach full capacity during doubles. (One year, Brooklyn Decker could not get a seat to watch husband Andy Roddick and teammate James Blake play against Andy Murray and Ross Hutchins.)
Doubles is another chance to see their favorite players up close – four to a court – and a way to pick up tips for their recreational and league play.
“It's nice to see the game grow and seeing people coming out and enjoying it,” said Federer.
On Wednesday evening, the Swiss duo meets Paes-Stepanek in the quarterfinals, and the Bryan Brothers play the French pairing of Mahut-Tsonga.