Eight star-studded tennis mixed doubles teams took to the courts at Indian Wells on Tuesday evening, March 7, 2023, in a 10-point tiebreak exhibition called the Eisenhower Cup.
The teams fell mainly along country lines with the U.S. Canada, Switzerland, Poland, and Greece fielding teams, but the winners of the event were not one of these teams.
The winners were Belarusian, Aryna Sabalenka, the 2023 Australian Open Champion, and American, Taylor Fritz, the men’s singles defending champion of the Indian Wells Masters event.
And that's it!! @taylor_fritz & @sabalenka_aryna are your #DoublesInTheDesert Champions!@BNPPARIBASOPEN | #TieBreakTens #BNPParibasOpen #tennis pic.twitter.com/XOHOHsExmi
— Tie Break Tens (@tiebreaktens) March 8, 2023
The pair defeated the Polish pair of Iga Swiatek, the women’s singles Indian Wells champion, and tenth-ranked Hubert Hurkacz.
The winners split a $200,000 prize.
Fritz is a native Californian and was definitely the fan favorite though tennis fans cheered for everyone knowing that they were in for a treat.
In a two-hour timespan, 16 of the best players in the world shared a court and played thrilling tiebreak tennis.
The Tennis Channel had players waiting for their matches miked up so there were fun interviews with Belinda Bencic, Ons Jabeur, and Cameron Norrie to name just a few.
We also saw professional players be competitive and light-hearted on the court which we do not see at a regular match.
Comfy-level: 10/10@JLPegula watching tonight's Eisenhower Cup action in Indian Wells pic.twitter.com/J4NoC51TFH
— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) March 8, 2023
Some 📸 from the 2023 Eisenhower Cup 🏆
(Getty)#BNPParibasOpen #BNPPO23 #TennisParadise pic.twitter.com/4CPlTACyTp
— First Serve Tennis Podcast (@FirstServeTnnis) March 8, 2023
Those that have played Davis Cup matches together seemed a little more comfortable on the court together like the Greeks Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas and the Canadians Leyla Fernandez and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Greece lightning strikes first! 🇬🇷⚡
Sakkari/Tsitsipas win the first tiebreaker of the Eisenhower Cup, beating Badosa/Norrie 12-10.#TennisParadise pic.twitter.com/wlo7EgppW5
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) March 8, 2023
The majority of these players do not play mixed doubles any other time outside of the Davis Cup so it is fun to watch them navigate the court as mixed doubles players because the strategy is different than singles.
Then there are the rallies to see who has the quickest hands and reflexes to get the ball back to the opponent’s side of the net.
Other WTA and ATP events should adopt a similar format and provide an exhibition like this before early-round action begins for these ranked players.
It gives players time on the court in a match-like setting to experience court conditions and understand how they are playing before competition begins.
And fans love it.
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