Long before the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells became an oasis of perfection and one of the players’ favorite Tour stops, it was something different.
Back in 1999, Serena Williams played Stefanie Graf (she was just “Steffi” then) in the final of the Evert Cup.
Same tournament – but held at the Grand Champions Resort nearby, in much more of a temporary setup.
The men’s tournament there had a different name: the “Newsweek Champions Cup”. Mark Philippoussis won that, with a five-set (!!!! – old school) victory over Carlos Moya. It was his first Masters 1000 title (then called “Super 9”).
And, in another blast from the past, Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova won the women’s doubles.
Here’s what that women’s singles final looked like; the WTA Tour is streaming it on YouTube today.
Williams was 18, Graf 29. But as young as she was, it turns out she was only five months away from permanent retirement.
It was a great match.