Kimiko Looks Back At IW Makeover
Published March 14, 2014 12:13
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - When Kimiko Date-Krumm made her Indian Wells debut, Steffi Graf was top of the rankings, Whitney Houston was top of the charts and Larry Ellison still had a way to go to become one of the top earners on the planet.
Twenty-three years, seven name changes and one move later, the tournament, often dubbed tennis' 'fifth' major, has established itself as one of the most prestigious stop-offs on the circuit.
No stone has been left unturned in attempting to turn the event, now staged at the state-of-the-art Indian Wells Tennis Garden, into the ultimate experience for both player and fan alike.
However, as Date-Krumm will testify, it was not always so.
"It was a long time ago now that I first came here, so I'm not sure if it's 1990 or 1991, but I think it's 1991," Date-Krumm said.
"It's a different venue now. I don't remember the stadium, but the facilities have changed a lot. Now we have a nice gym, restaurants, whereas before it was more like a big tent!"
The latest makeover to the 54-acre tennis paradise came just a few weeks ago with the addition of a new 8,000-capacity Stadium 2, taking Ellison and company closer to their goal of bringing 500,000 fans through the gates each year.
Accompanying the new stadium are a raft of new restaurants, including the latest member of the Nobu family - an addition that is likely to entice one regular visitor back for at least another year or two.
"It's a tournament I enjoy playing so much," Date-Krumm added. "There are always some Japanese fans here cheering me, the weather is always nice and we have nice Japanese restaurants and now Nobu!"