California - Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have coped with the crushing pressure of
grand slam finals and held their nerve with Olympic medals at stake, but
both were left rattled at the BNP Paribas Open on Monday after an
earthquake rocked the California desert.
The magnitude 4.7 quake struck deep beneath a mountain range shortly
before 19:00 about 22 miles south of the resort community
of Palm Springs.
"It was quite scary for a second there," Swiss world No 2 Federer told
reporters after easing past Croatia's Ivan Dodig 6-3 6-1 in the third
round of the elite event at nearby Indian Wells. "Today(Monday) was the first
time I ever felt one.
"For the first few seconds I wasn't sure what was happening. I ran
outside. I was at the house and I didn't know how long it was going to
last, if it was going to get worse from there, or if the worst was
"Thank God my family wasn't in the house. They were outside somewhere.
It was a very strange feeling to have, because you see the windows
shaking and you look up and realise you're under a structure."
Automated sensors initially reported the quake as a flurry of three
tremors in rapid succession at magnitudes of 5.1 or higher, but seismic
strength was quickly downgraded to between 4.6 and 4.7 before scientists
determined that only a single quake of that size had actually occurred.
"I was very scared," Spaniard Nadal, a twice champion at Indian Wells,
said after he was handed a place in the last 16 when Argentina's
Leonardo Mayer withdrew with a back injury before the start of their
"First time in my life. I was on the massage table preparing for my
warm-up. I think the massage table moves even more. I finish the
earthquake, and my legs were like this," he grinned while wobbling his
Fourth-seeded German Angelique Kerber initially thought a subway train
had triggered the tremors, until she realised what was happening.
"I was talking with my coach in the garden and everything was shaking,"
the German left-hander said after beating Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-1
7-6 in the third round of the WTA event.
"In the first moment we both were thinking, you know, it's like a subway
here, but actually we are in the desert. No way that there is a subway.
I felt it. That was my first one."