March 26, 1999
By J. Fred Sidhu
Indian Wells, Ca. - When Mark Philippoussis blasted an ace past Carlos Moya's outstretched racquet to win the 1999 Newsweek Champions Cup earlier this month, it marked the last singles championship to be played on the 11,500-seat stadium at the Hyatt Grand Champion Resort.
Next year's tournament will be moved to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, a facility which has been proclaimed as a tennis mecca for men's and women's tennis when it is scheduled to open in March 2000.
At a recent ceremonial
groundbreaking on the site of the new venue, tournament director
Charlie Pasarell disclosed details of the Tennis Garden before
a gathering of civic officials; dignitaries; various business
people; present and past tennis stars and a host of media.
"The Indian Wells tournament has grown in the past decade to be among the most prestigious sports events in the world,'' Pasarell said. "Its been wonderful at the Grand Hyatt, but the truth of the matter is, we have totally outgrown the facilities.''
The Evert Cup/Newsweek Champions Cup is one of only six tennis tournaments in the world which feature the world's top ranked men's and women's players competing simultaneously at the same location. The other tournaments are: the U.S. Open; Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open and The Lipton.
He explained further, "The event has gotten so popular and so big that we do not have enough for all of the people, so we need to put a new facility.''
Currently being built on a 189-acre site located 1 1/2 miles east of the current tournament venue, the $65 million entertainment and tennis facility will feature 20 tennis courts, including a 16,071-seat main stadium; a second stadium with 7,000 seats and a third stadium which can seat 4,000.
"We are going to build the finest tennis complex in the world. It will be second to none,'' Pasarell declared. He described the project as, "a complex by which all other tennis tournaments will be measured.''
Pasarell, who played on the men's tennis tour during the '60s and '70s, added, "We are going to be very proud of this facility."
The project is being developed by PM Sports Management, which was founded by Pasarell and Raymond Moore, a former touring tennis professional, and the International Management Group, which is known as IMG, the world's first sports management and marketing agency. IMG has represented athletes such as Muhammad Ali; Tiger Woods and Wayne Gretzky among others.
The project architect is Rossetti Associates Architects, which has designed numerous sports and entertainment facilities such as the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York; the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, Florida; the Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the NBA's Detroit Pistons and the Corel Centre Arena, home of the NHL's Ottawa Senators.
The general contractor is Clark Construction Group, Inc. which constructed Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Redskins' Jack Kent Cook Stadium. They will also be building the future home of the San Diego Padres in Downtown San Diego.
When completed, the main stadium at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden will feature a total of 44 luxury suites - 30 sponsor suites on the second level; five club suites and nine private suites on the first level.
The stadium, which will be in the shape of a pure octagon, will also feature state-of-the-art press and broadcast skybox; player training room; fitness facility and media and player dining rooms.
The project is being built with the future in mind according to Pasarell. "We now have a facility which will accommodate our expansion into the next century and we don't plan on stopping here. We have visions of exciting growth and expansion into the next decade,'' Pasarell said as he spoke about the future of the complex.
Future plans for the land around the current project call for an additional stadium which can seat eight to ten thousand fans; six practice courts; two hotels and an entertainment center.
Among those in attendance at the ground breaking ceremony were Newsweek Champions Cup Chairman, Alan King; American tennis stars, Michael Chang and Lindsay Davenport and Australian tennis legend, Rod Laver.