Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will start off the Indian Wells Masters as the players to watch out and all three of them have a lot at stake at this year’s competition. Here’s more…
Both Djokovic and Federer have won five titles at the Indian Wells Masters and will be gunning to break that tie and make it their sixth title. However, second-ranked Rafael Nadal, who also has a record to maintain, will look to do his best to stall the pair, especially Djokovic.
Nadal’s career record of 33 ATP Masters titles is under threat from Djokovic, who has 32 to his name. Another win here will tie them for the most Masters titles, with Federer a distant third at the moment with 27 Masters 1000 titles.
On the other hand, both Djokovic and Federer will be gunning for their sixth at the Indian Wells Masters. Federer last won a title at this venue in 2017, defeating Stan Wawrinka in the final while Djokovic’s previous came in 2016 that was a part of his hat-trick of Indian Wells Masters wins which had begun in 2014. In both, the 2014 and 2015 Indian Wells Masters finals, he had edged Roger Federer aside in three sets.
Interestingly, Djokovic and Nadal have won a total of 65 Masters titles, which is more than all the Masters titles combined by other players active on the ATP tour at the moment.
Federer aside, some of the other winners include Andy Murray, who has won 14 Masters 1000 titles, Alexander Zverev, who has three, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with two and the likes of Stan Wawrinka, Juan Martin del Potro, Grigor Dimitrov, Jack Sock, John Isner, Karen Khachanov, Marin Cilic, David Ferrer.
The other thing to look out for is how the results affect their respective rankings at the end of the two-week tournament. And this is where both, Djokovic and Nadal can further strengthen their top two spots given they are defending virtually nothing in this tournament.
Djokovic was an opening match casualty at the previous Indian Wells Masters while Nadal hadn’t even featured in it because of an injury, thereby making it 10 and 0 points to defend respectively.
On the other hand, Federer has 600 points to defend after he finished runner-up last season to del Potro, who clinched his first ever Masters title. In fact both, Federer and del Potro have it tough for different reasons – Federer will be up against it with Djokovic and Nadal lurking and those many points to cover while del Potro’s going to lose his 1000 after withdrawing from the tournament.
Federer has it tough in more than one way.
He would only retain his current points, only he made it to the final but even to be able to stave off the challenge from Kevin Anderson and Kei Nishikori, Federer needs to get to at least the quarter-final. That is to do with Nishikori and Anderson not having too many points to defend with the Japanese having not participated last year and the South African getting knocked out in the quarter-finals.
Both players can overtake Federer on the ATP Rankings in different ways.
And the withdrawal of del Potro, his drop of 1000 points could have a huge impact on his rankings. At the very least, he would be at the number eighth spot by the time the rankings are updated at the end of the tournament but the likes of Kevin Anderson, Kei Nishikori, Dominic Thiem, John Isner and Stefanos Tsitsipas could all surpass him on the ATP rankings.
On the other hand, Tsitsipas, whose entry into the ATP top-10 rankings was well-chronicled last week after he made it to the final of the Dubai Open, will look to solidify that position with a good showing at the Indian Wells Masters.