I’m getting on a plane today and headed back to one of my favorite tennis tournaments in the world, the BNP Paribas Open.
I first started coming to the tournament three years ago, with my friend Amiira Behrendt, and I was hooked. The tournament has the feel of a Grand Slam, but is also so accessible. The setting – with the mountains in the background, the best players in the world, and a host of true tennis fans, makes for a tennis fan’s dream.
My mom played tennis when I was growing up, so I took lessons when I was young, and eventually made my high school tennis team. I wasn’t the best, but a lifetime love of tennis was born. I remember taking bus trips from where I grew up in Pennsylvania to the US Open. We would go early in the tournament and watch matches on the outer courts and then later at night we would go into the stadium for a marquee match and see players like John McEnroe and Boris Becker. Sometimes we would sneak down to the lower seats as the night wore on.
As I got into acting, my playing days faded away. But in the last few years, my husband Ben Stiller and I have started playing together. We took some lessons, and now I have him hooked on the sport too. My daughter is starting to play a little bit as well, so our hope is that we can enjoy the sport as a family. It truly is a sport of a lifetime.
Last summer Ben and I went to Wimbledon and sat in the Royal Box, next to actor Michael Caine. We got to watch Andy Murray and Roger Federer. It was a special experience, and we are already looking ahead to the US Open this year. Our family moved to New York City this winter, so I think I might just go every day!
I have been watching the matches in Indian Wells on television. Novak Djokovic has been playing amazing tennis. From the US Open last year where he reached the finals, to winning the Australian Open, to blistering through the draw here, he seems very hard to beat. Although, I would never count out Federer or Rafael Nadal.
It’s great to see Juan Martin del Potro back playing well. Ben and I were at the final of the US Open that year he won, so it was disappointing to see him have to take a year off for his wrist injury. He seems like such a sweet guy and I think it is great for the game to have him back playing like a Top 10 player.
How impressive was Ryan Harrison a couple nights ago against Roger Federer? He came out and played with confidence and you could tell he felt like he belonged. By playing as well as he did, he sent a strong message that he wasn’t intimidated. I think he has a great future.
It was sad to see Ana Ivanovic lose. In my opinion, she still has the potential to be a World No. 1 player again. I hope she can break through and win a big tournament and another Grand Slam title.
Alright, I can’t wait to be out in Indian Wells this weekend for the semifinals and finals, and get my live tennis fix…It should be an amazing final for one of the best tournaments in the world!