Fans from around the world continue to flood the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the BNP Paribas Open. Among the fans, were student athletes from the Xavier College Prep men’s tennis team.
“It’s really inspirational seeing all the players play,” said Francis Cordova, a student athlete at Xavier College Prep.
In fact, it’s still hard for him to believe that his school allowed the team to go to the BNP Paribas Open.
“We can all just learn from everyone and it’s something we can talk about because our teammates all play the same sport,” he told NBC Palm Springs
A sport he says, has taught him more than he could ever imagine.
“It’s taught me discipline, since you have to watch the ball, and it’s taught me focus because you have to keep track of the ball.”
The students had the chance to explore the grounds all day long.
“We went to go eat, and then we went to stadium two and we watched a bit of their game, and then we hit around at the tennis place to try out new racquets.”
Something that Francisco’s coach says, is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“Just feeling the buzz and the energy in the air is very inspiring. You never know who’s going to take to it and run with it. So absolutely, it could be very life changing,” said Ruben Valerio, the head coach of the men’s tennis team at Xavier College Prep.
A sport that has already changed Francisco’s life.
“I would like to play for college, and that what I was talking to my coach about. I want to go to NYU and I’m hoping to get a scholarship from there. Most schools wouldn’t do that for us so it means a lot to us as a tennis team because we get to learn how everyone plays. It’s a really good experience for us as a team.”
Ruben also recognizes that none of this would have been possible without the support of the school administration, and he will forever be thankful for that.”
“Just so blessed to have this tournament here in the valley and just to be able to experience it, especially for all our new players,” Ruben told NBC Palm Springs.
This was Francis’ second time coming to the tournament. However, he says that he was able to appreciate it more this time around because he was surrounded by him teammates, getting to watch and be surrounded by the sport they love, all day long.