INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - Women's main draw play began at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday. The top 8 women in the tournament all received byes into the second round. It gives them some time to meet with the media, and to push some of their own projects. Fan favorite Maria Sharapova introduced the Coachella Valley to her latest business venture, a candy line called "Sugarpova." Before she did that, she joined the other top women to meet with the media. "I think everyone loves being back here, it's such a chill event, the weather's beautiful, so many courts to practice," said 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki.
She and the other players also spoke about how much the enjoy the atmosphere. "Fans coming out, and no matter what court, center court of court 15, it's always a packed stadium," said Sam Stosur, the number 9 ranked player in the world.
Nearly every player shared their love for the huge crowds. No one knows better than fan favorite Maria Sharapova. The part-time Southland resident considers this a home tournament. "It's definitely nice to put all your bags in a car, and not in an airplane," said Sharapova. "You know it feels a little more unique, and a little more homey."
Sharapova took runner-up to Victoria Azarenka in last year's final. The 23-year-old looks to defend her title, something only one woman has done in the history of the BNP, but don't tell Azarenka that. "I don't really care about it, I'm just thinking about winning another title at Indian Wells," said Azarenka. "And that's what I'm looking for, but my first priority is my first match."
The top players also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the WTA. It revealed a new "40 love" logo for the year. "Our tour is growing and it's great from where it started to where it is today," said Azarenka. "So I'm really excited for that and happy anniversary."
"Billie Jean King and that generation, they developed the WTA and you know to see what has happened and equal prize money now, being the biggest women's sport in the world, that's amazing," said Wozniacki.
All of them hope they'll be celebrating a championship next Saturday. "These tournaments, Indian Wells and Miami are quite big events for all the players and you want to focus on and take it a step further than you did last year," said Sharapova.
OUTCUE: YOU DID LAST YEAR
[CG in 0'01" to 0'05":2 LINE CG\Caroline Wozniacki\2011 BNP CHAMPION]
[CG in 0'19" to 0'22":2 LINE CG\Sam Stosur\RANKED #9 IN THE WORLD]
[CG in 0'34" to 0'38":2 LINE CG\Maria Sharapova\2006 BNP CHAMPION]
[CG in 0'52" to 0'55":2 LINE CG\Victoria Azarenka\2012 BNP CHAMPION]
ALL THE PLAYERS ALSO HOPE TO CELEBRATE A VICTORY ON CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY.