The 2023 BNP Paribas Open kicks off tennis' high-stakes version of March Madness next week. The WTA 1000 tournament is the first leg of the Sunshine Double, with the Miami Open closing out the four-week coast-to-coast swing before the tours turn to clay. 

Here's what you need to know about the 12-day event:

When does the tournament start?

The BNP Paribas Open is the second WTA 1000 tournament of the season. It is played on outdoor hard courts at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and features a 96-player singles field and a 32-team doubles field. The tournament uses Penn Tour Regular Duty balls. 

Qualifying begins on Monday, March 6, with main-draw play beginning on Wednesday, March 8. Day sessions begin at 11:00 a.m. PT and night sessions begin at 6:00 p.m.

Each half of the draw will continue to alternate days into the second week until Tuesday, March 14, when all eight Round of 16 singles matches will be played. The quarterfinals will be played across Wednesday and Thursday, with the singles semifinals scheduled for Friday night. 

When are the finals? 

The doubles final will be played on Saturday, March 18 at 11:00 a.m. 

The singles final will be played on Sunday, March 19 at 1:00 p.m.

Who are the top seeds?

The Top 32 seeds will receive a first-round bye. The rankings from the week of Feb. 27 will be used for seeding purposes. 

Top 16 seeds:

No.1 Iga Swiatek
No.2 Aryna Sabalenka
No.3 Jessica Pegula
No.4 Ons Jabeur
No.5 Caroline Garcia
No.6 Coco Gauff
No.7 Maria Sakkari
No.8 Daria Kasatkina
No.9 Belinda Bencic
No.10 Elena Rybakina
No.11 Veronika Kudermetova
No.12 Liudmila Samsonova
No.13 Beatriz Haddad Maia
No.14 Victoria Azarenka
No.15 Petra Kvitova
No.16 Barbora Krejcikova

Champion's Reel: How Iga Swiatek won Indian Wells 2022

2022 Indian Wells

Who are the defending champions?

World No.1 Iga Swiatek captured her third WTA 1000 title last year at Indian Wells, defeating Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-1 in the final. The victory would be the first leg of Swiatek's sweep of the Sunshine Double.

In doubles, Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan defeated Asia Muhammad and Ena Shibahara, 7-5, 7-6(4) to win their biggest team title. 

What does the draw look like?

The draw ceremony will be conducted on Monday, March 6 at 3:00 p.m.

What is the prize money and ranking points on offer?

The total financial commitment at Indian Wells is $8,800,000.

Champion: $1,262,220/1,000 points
Finalist: $662,360/650 points
Semifinalist: $352,635/390 points
Quarterfinalist: $184,465/215 points
Fourth Round: $96,955/120 points
Third Round: $55,670/65 points
Second Round: $30,885/35 points
First Round: $18,660/10 points

Key storylines

2023's hard-court mavens: Four players have split the six biggest tournaments of the season so far, with Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka and Belinda Bencic both holding two titles apiece.

Grand Slam: Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka d. Elena Rybakina
WTA 1000: Dubai: Barbora Krejcikova d. Iga Swiatek
WTA 500: Adelaide 1: Aryna Sabalenka d. Linda Noskova
WTA 500: Adelaide 2: Belinda Bencic d. Daria Kasatkina
WTA 500: Abu Dhabi: Belinda Bencic d. Liudmila Samsonova
WTA 500: Doha: Iga Swiatek d. Jessica Pegula

Of those four champions, only Swiatek and Bencic have ever made it to the semifinal stage at Indian Wells, with Swiatek the sole champion. 

Jabeur hopeful for return: The former World No.2 skipped the Middle East swing with minor knee surgery after the Australian Open. She's hoping to be ready to go for Indian Wells, where she was a semifinalist in 2021.

Pegula takes an impressive streak into the California desert: The World No.3 hit a notable milestone en route to the semifinals in Dubai. She became the only American to make the quarterfinals or better at five consecutive hard-court WTA 1000s, a streak that began at Miami last year. Across all levels, Pegula has made the quarterfinals or better at her last nine regular-season tournaments, dating back to Toronto.

Four former champions return: Only four women in the draw will have won Baccarat trophy: reigning champion Swiatek, 2021 champion Paula Badosa, 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka (2012, 2016).

Unseeded ones to watch: A number of surging players look primed to make their mark during the Sunshine Double. Keep an eye on No.41 Zhu Lin, No.55 Linda Noskova and No.77 Karolina Muchova.