First ATP Masters 1000 Event Of The Season To Start In Indian Wells

Indian Wells Stadium 1 (photo: Brigitte Urban)

INDIAN WELLS, March 9, 2017

There are nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events throughout the calendar and the first falls in March at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden with its stunning backdrop of Southern California’s Santa Rosa Mountains.

The Tennis Garden is one the best equipped facilities on the ATP World Tour with Hawk Eye Systems on all of its eight match courts. Its 16.100-seat stadium is the second biggest purpose-built tennis arena in the world. The BNP Parisbas Open is played on hard courts and is the best attended tennis event outside the four Grand Slams with more than 430.000 visitors during the 23 days of the combined event for women and men. The singles main draw features 96 players battling for the prize money of US-$ 6.993.450.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have won 12 of the last 13 BNP Paribas Open titles. In 2017, however, only one of the former champions could reach the semi-finals after being selected in the same quarter of an ATP draw for the first time ever. Also in the bottom quarter are Nick Kyrgios and Juan Martin del Potro, who both have wins over Djokovic, Nadal and Federer.

Djokovic enters the first ATP Masters 1000 event of the season with five titles and a 17-match winning streak at Indian Wells. He could meet del Potro in the third round on Tuesday, only 13 days removed from their second-round match at Acapulco. Djokovic avenged losses to del Potro in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics by beating the Argentine in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. Djokovic will open his chase for a fourth consecutive titl against the winner of the first round encounter between Kyle Edmund of Great Britain and Portuguese Gastao Elias.

Nadal is a three-time singles and two-time doubles champion at Indian Wells, and he’s playing both events again this year. The Spaniard will team up with Bernard Tomic for the first time. Nadal has already reached singles finals at the Australian Open and Acapulco in 2017. However, the lefty has played six finals and 30 events on hard courts since his last title on the surface at 2014 Doha. Nadal will start against either fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-López of Guido Pella from Argentina.

Federer, a four-time BNP Paribas Open champion, returns to Indian Wells after missing the 2016 event. The Swiss recovered from his knee injury and knocked off Nadal at the Australian Open to became the oldest Grand Slam champion (35) since Ken Rosewall at the 1972 Australian Open and the lowest-ranked major champion (No. 17) since Gaston Gaudio at 2004 Roland Garros. Federer will meet in his opening match in the desert either French veteran Stephan Robert or Dudi Sela from Israel.

Nadal and Federer could meet again in the fourth round on Wednesday, which would be the earliest match in their rivalry since their first encounter in the 2004 Miami third round. The winner may meet Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Nadal’s last meeting with Djokovic was in the stage of the final eight in Rome last year, while Federer has not played the World No. 2 that early since the 2007 Dubai quarterfinals.

World No. 1 Andy Murray is one of two former finalists in the top half of the draw along with No. 20 seed John Isner. Murray is missing only Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo from his collection of 14 ATP Masters 1000 titles. Now 2,215 points ahead of Djokovic in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Murray has captured 10 titles in 14 finals from the 16 tournaments that he has played since May. The Briton will open his title bid against the winner of the encounter between Vasek Pospisil from Canada or Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei.