Indian Wells Mayor Mary Roche remembers the days when the top tennis players mistook the small desert city for nearby Palm Springs.
"When the Indian Wells Tennis Garden first opened in 2000, I remember Andre Agassi saying how he loved to come to Palm Springs," Roche said at a ground breaking ceremony for a new 8,000 seat stadium at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens Friday. "All of us from Indian Wells kept saying, it's Indian Wells. It's Indian Wells."
But that mix-up didn't last for long for the city of 5,000 full-time residents.
"And within a year or two I remember Lindsay Davenport saying, 'I love to come to Indian Wells,'" Roche said. "I've watched all these players win this tournament over the years and they all know it is Indian Wells. This tournament gives us the international recognition."
Roche said the tournament draws nearly 400,000 visitors to the Coachella Valley over its two weeks.
"What this tournament does for this whole valley is incredible," Roche said. "It brings excitement. It brings recognition."