You Don’t Have to Be a Pro to Play at Indian Wells Tennis Garden

Director of tennis Jai Nettimi shows how anyone can play at one of the most scenic venues in professional tennis.

March 2, 2023
Story by Judd Spicer

Indian Wells Tennis Garden director of tennis Jai Nettimi instructs two budding players.
PHOTOS BY BRIDGET MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY

One need not appear in the BNP Paribas Open (March 6–19) to sling rackets on the courts often referred to by the world’s top players as the most scenic in the game.

Rather, under the guidance of Jai Nettimi, the director of tennis at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the general public has year-round, all-ages access to instruction, matches, and tennis programming.

Preceding his seven years at Indian Wells, Nettimi was part of back-to-back NCAA title teams at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1995 and ’96, followed by a two-year run as an ATP satellite touring professional.

We spoke with the Tennis Garden frontman to learn more about the offerings.

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Do amateur players realize they can play where the pros play?

We’re known for the BNP because the event is watched worldwide. But, the rest of the year, we have a very active, year-round club for lessons, clinics, and matches. We currently have about 17 USTA teams that play out of here. We’re a very active club; we have memberships available, but we’re also open to the public.

What are your most popular programs?

Our Live Ball clinics are really popular; these are very active clinics, with constant motion. A lot of hit and move, with music being played across multiple courts. We have clinics every day of the week for people to drop in. And our pro shop staff also arranges a lot of matches. Whether you’re a member or coming in off the street, we can always get you a match.

Are there opportunities for future BNP stars?

We have a very competitive junior player development program, with three pros working with about 20 kids, ages 13 to 17. We have a popular program for little kids as well, an intro program that feeds into our development initiative.