Tennis fans showed up in record numbers to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Saturday, three years after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the tournament.
Saturday set a single-day record with more than 61,000 total fans on site and overall attendance is so far tracking with the tournament's record 2019 levels, organisers told Reuters on Sunday.
Crowds packed into matches, crowded around practice courts, and marvelled at an evening drone show on a day where top seeds Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek both advanced.
Organisers called off the prestigious tournament in the Southern California desert just days before it was scheduled to begin in 2020 as the virus began to take a grip on the United States.
It was postponed to October in 2021 before returning to its regular March spot on the sports calendar last year.
"We couldn't be more excited to see fans coming out to Tennis Paradise in record-setting numbers so far this year," said Philippe Dore, BNP Paribas Open chief marketing officer.
"It's been a great first week with fans enjoying incredible tennis, beautiful weather and all of the amazing amenities here at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
"We're looking forward to a fantastic second week of action at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden."
The ATP and WTA 1000 tournament concludes March 19.