2016 BNP Paribas Open
Azarenka defeats Serena for 2nd Indian Wells title. Novak Djokovic makes it three in a row
Novak Djokovic won his 3rd consecutive Indian Wells title at the 2016 BNP Paribas Open; his 5th career victory in California’s high desert and 27th Masters-1000 win. He’d go-on to earn the “Sunshine Double” (Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back) for an unprecedented fourth time.
With the exception of a retirement in Dubai thanks to an eye infection, he went undefeated in 2016 until Monte Carlo in April (28-1).
Victoria Azarenka defeated World #1 Serena Williams to earn her second Indian Wells title, the 19th of her career.
Meanwhile Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Coco Vandeweghe tuned-up for the Olympic Games by winning their first title together, defeating Julia Georges and Karolina Pliskova.
Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock reached their second consecutive Indian Wells final, but fell to the dominant French tandem of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
2016 also marked the year Venus Williams returned to Indian Wells after a 15-year personal boycott of the event. Her sister Serena broke the ice last year, in an emotional return that saw her reach the Semifinals – before a knee injury forced her to retire.
Perhaps 2016 will most be remembered for the tournament’s off-court controversies. On the final day of qualifying, Maria Sharapova held a press conference admitting to using a recently banned substance for the past 10-years on tour. While she received an email notification of the updated banned substances back in December, she did not discover that the “medicine” (Meldonium) she had been using all these years was added to the banned substance for 2016. She tested positive for the drug at the Australian Open and was indefinitely suspended from competition. Later in June, it was announced that she would have to serve a 2-year ban from the sport; however by October, the suspension was reduced by nine months, clearing Maria to get back to competition by April 26, 2017.
The other controversy happened prior to Sunday’s Finals during a press breakfast with the tournament director, Raymond Moore. Mr. Moore was asked a question about the tournament’s potential goals with regard to the WTA Tour. His reaction rewarded him global, sexist, chauvinistic infamy, ultimately forcing him to resign. His response: “…in my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA, because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky. If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have.” He didn’t stop there…and managed to cavernize the deep hole he’d already dug. Here are the transcripts…
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) def. Serena Williams (USA)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) def. Milos Raonic (CAN)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) and Coco Vandeweghe (USA)
Julia Georges (GER) and Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
4-6, 6-4, 10-6
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) and Nicolas Mahut (FRA)
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) and Jack Sock (USA)