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Djokovic And Murray Look To Get Back On Track In Indian Wells

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Murray, Djokovic© Getty ImagesAndy Murray and Novak Djokovic are eyeing strong March campaigns as the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 season commences.

The BNP Paribas Open is a battle royale in the desert.

One of the premier, and most serene, tournaments on the calendar will once again showcase the game’s best as Indian Wells raises the curtain on another ATP World Tour Masters 1000 season.

With consecutive events in Indian Wells and Miami, for World No. 2 Novak Djokovic and sixth-ranked Andy Murray, March is as important as it is a demanding test of endurance, with a bevy of Emirates ATP Ranking points up for grabs.

“Back-to-back (ATP World Tour) Masters 1000 events are definitely not easy on the bodies, but with a four or five day rest in between it helps us to recover and get ready,” said Djokovic at a press conference in New York City for World Tennis Day. “The best-of-three sets (format) always helps. Of course it is very physical now so you have to be ready to perform at the top of your physical condition.”

Djokovic, a two-time titlist in Indian Wells (2008, ’11), is in uncharted territory in 2014, having failed to reach a final before March for the first time since 2006. The Serb will look to win his first title under the tutelage of coach Boris Becker, but he acknowledges it won’t be easy with the competition heating up, particularly considering the recent Swiss surge from Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka.

"What Stan did in the Australian Open shows that there are other players than the top four that are able to win,” added Djokovic. “It’s good for the sport.

“Roger played a great tournament in Dubai. He’s one of the best players in the history of the game and you can never count him out. He always plays really well and you have to be on top of your game to win against him regardless of which surface you play on. It’s Roger Federer across the net.

“Of course Rafa is there too and you have young guys like Dimitrov and Raonic and Janowicz.  It’s a very interesting time for men's tennis. It’s just the beginning of the season so it’s still very early in the season to predict who will finish No. 1 but there is a bigger group of guys, not just the four of us.”

Murray, who is looking to become the sixth player in history to win double-digit ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, commented on the state of his game following his first Latin American venture. While the Scot fell in the semi-finals in Acapulco, he sees the positives in his form after recovering from minor back surgery.

“The first few tournaments back were hard but my body feels good now,” Murray admitted. “Last week in Acapulco I played four matches in four days, three three-set matches, which didn't start until late. I woke up the next day and felt fine for the first time since the surgery. That shows I am starting to recover properly though which is great.”

Djokovic and Murray, who competed in an exhibition match at Madison Square Garden on Monday, provided a fitting nightcap to an important day focusing on the promotion of tennis in countries throughout the world.

Djokovic also commented on Becker’s riveting title matches at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, when the event was held at the iconic arena from 1977-1989. “We talked about it,” Djokovic said to ATPWorldTour.com. “He was excited for me coming here. He looked back at his great matches against Ivan (Lendl) at the (Barclays ATP) World Tour Finals. This venue has hosted many big tennis matches. The New York crowd loves this sport. They have a great knowledge and a great passion for tennis.”

Men's main draw action at the BNP Paribas Open will commence Thursday, with Djokovic and Murray receiving first-round byes.

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