INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The Indian Wells Tennis Garden is a fairly benign place most of the time.
The worst issue is the steaming heat which, especially in the uncovered stands, can turn the fans into one big puddle on the hottest days.
But every once in awhile, the desert wind kicks up. And when that happens, benign becomes bombastic.
Above is American Bjorn Fratangelo.
His hair isn’t sticking up that way because he made a pit stop at Walgreens to pick up an industrial tub of gel.
That’s the wind.
Tough for tennis
Of particular interest while the wind was having its way were the challenges involved in playing an actual tennis match. In this case, it was the men’s singles semifinal at the Oracle Challenger.
Because it’s not just the wind; it’s the sand that also makes an appearance, brought by that wind.
Vasek Pospisil and Martin Klizan were having a heck of a time. It got to the point where there as talk about halting play, in the middle of the second set.
In Klizan’s case, with contact lenses, the sand particles were getting in his eyes. And that’s a tough go. He did end up winning the match and reaching the final.
The flags were flapping so violently it actually was noisy enough to affect the players’ concentration and affected the fans’ ability to hear the ball being struck.
Madison Brengle, who was on a practice court with countrywoman Victoria Duval, laughed and said she had sand in her teeth.
As those two were hitting, whenever the ball hit the court, a bunch of sand would splatter around.
Oh, and a fire
To add to all that, there was a fire on the horizon.
You could hear the fire trucks headed out to the call. And you could smell the fire near the soccer field and practice courts.