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Scouting Report: Stars Return To Action In Indian Wells

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP World Tour

All-Star Line-up in the Desert – The first of nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments of the season, the BNP Paribas Open, gets underway at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Thursday, headlined by a star-studded field, including 43 of the Top 50 in the Emirates ATP Rankings (17 of the Top 20) as of March 7. This is the 41st edition of the tournament, which was held at nearby Mission Hills in Palm Springs in 1976.

BNP PARIBAS OPEN (Indian Wells) – A Top 5 player in the Emirates ATP Rankings has lifted the champion’s trophy in 14 of the past 15 years (except 2010). The three active players to rank No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings have all won the title at least three times, including World No. 1/reigning champion/four-time winner Novak Djokovic (2008, ’11, ’14-15), No. 3/four-time champ Roger Federer (2004-06, ’12) and three-time winner Rafael Nadal (2007, ’09, ’13). Federer withdrew from this year’s tournament due to a knee injury. This is the first time he has missed the tournament after 15 consecutive appearances.

Big Four Dominance – The ‘Big Four’ of Djokovic, Murray, Federer and Nadal have won 48 of the past 52 ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, which dates back to Nadal’s triumph at Monte-Carlo in 2010. The only other players to emerge with an ATP Masters 1000 title are Robin Soderling (2010 Paris), David Ferrer (2012 Paris), Stan Wawrinka (2014 Monte-Carlo) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2014 Toronto). Here is a breakdown of the ATP Masters 1000 titles won by Djokovic (21), Nadal (12), Federer (8) and Murray (7) during that time: 

PLAYER

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Novak Djokovic

-

5

3

3

4

6

Andy Murray

2

2

-

1

-

2

Roger Federer

1

1

3

-

2

1

Rafael Nadal

3

1

2

5

1

-





Djokovic Eyes Record Fifth Title - Djokovic is seeking a record fifth BNP Paribas Open title. He is also trying to win a third straight title in Indian Wells. The 28-year-old Serb and Roger Federer own the tournament record with four titles each. Federer, who is the last player to win three straight titles from 2004-06, also lifted the trophy in 2012. Last year Djokovic won his fourth title, surpassing Americans Jimmy Connors (1976, ‘81, ‘84) and Michael Chang (1992, ‘96, ‘97).

Top Seed/Reigning Champ – World No. 1 and reigning two-time champion Novak Djokovic comes into Indian Wells with a 16-1 match record on the season. He helped his country to a 3-2 Davis Cup first-round win over Kazakhstan by winning both singles matches. He opened the season by winning the Doha title (d. Nadal) and then followed by capturing his 11th career Grand Slam crown, a record-tying sixth at the Australian Open (d. Murray). In his last tournament in Dubai, he retired in the quarter-finals (vs. Lopez) due to an eye infection on Feb. 25. It ended a streak of 17 consecutive finals reached going back to last year’s Australian Open. Djokovic has a 41-6 career tournament record and he’s reached the semi-finals or better in seven of his 10 appearances, including the past five. He has won 11 straight matches in Indian Wells since his latest loss to del Potro in the semi-finals in 2013.  This is the fourth time he comes in ranked No. 1 (2012-13, ’15-16). He also won the title in 2008 and 2011 and was runner-up in 2007. This is the 189th week (as of March 7) ranked No. 1.

Success to No. 1 – In the past six years (and eight of the past 10), the year-end No. 1 player in the Emirates ATP Rankings has won the most ATP Masters 1000 matches during that season. Here’s a look at the year-end No. 1 players and their ATP Masters 1000 win-loss record going back to 2006:

YEAR

YEAR-END NO. 1

W-L

TITLES

2015

Novak Djokovic

39-2

6

2014

Novak Djokovic

*28-4

4

2013

Rafael Nadal

35-3

5

2012

Novak Djokovic

34-6

3

2011

Novak Djokovic

33-1

5

2010

Rafael Nadal

29-5

3

2008

Rafael Nadal

32-6

3

2006

Roger Federer

34-3

4







* Note: No. 2 Federer also won 28 ATP Masters 1000 matches

Murray Joins Fatherhood – Andy Murray, who reached the Indian Wells final in 2009 (l. to Nadal), is playing his first tournament since becoming a father on February 7 with the birth of his daughter, Sophia. Murray opened the season with his fifth runner-up at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic). Over the weekend he lifted Great Britain to a 3-1 Davis Cup victory over Japan by clinching the first-round tie with a five-set win over Kei Nishikori.

Next Generation – There are eight Next Generation players in the main draw, including six teenagers.

Main Draw

Rank

Age

Frances Tiafoe (WC)

No. 177

18 yrs., 1 month

Taylor Fritz (WC)

No. 80

18 yrs., 4 months

Alexander Zverev

No. 58

18 yrs, 10 months

Borna Coric

No. 47

19 yrs, 3 months

Jared Donaldson (WC)

No. 158

19 yrs, 4 months

Hyeon Chung

No. 64

19 yrs, 9 months

Nick Kyrgios

No. 27

20 yrs, 10 months

Kyle Edmund

No. 82

21 yrs., 1 month

Note:  Andrey Rublev (No. 161, 18 yrs., 4 months) is in the qualifying draw

Wild Cards – Four of the five wild cards in the main draw are Americans: Jared Donaldson, Taylor Fritz, Mackenzie McDonald and Frances Tiafoe. The other wild card is Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who reached the final in his last Indian Wells appearance three years ago (l. to Nadal).

InfoSys ATP World Tour Wins Leaders – Dominic Thiem leads the ATP World Tour with 20 match wins. Last year the Austrian native won his 20th match in Umag the week of July 20. He came into Indian Wells last year with a 3-5 record.

DelPo Returns  – Wild card entry Juan Martin del Potro is making his return to Indian Wells for the first time since 2013. This is the 27-year-old Argentine’s sixth appearance in Indian Wells (16-5 record). He’s reached the quarter-finals or better in four of his previous appearances. He reached the quarters in 2009 and 2012, semi-finals in 2011 and final in his last visit in 2013. Last year, the former World No. 4 played in two tournaments – Sydney (QF) and Miami (1R) before undergoing left wrist surgery on Jan. 20 and on June 18. He returned to action last month in Delray Beach where he advanced to the semi-finals (l. to eventual champ Querrey). Afterwards he jumped from No. 1,042 to No. 420.

First-Time Appearance – There are 10 players (not including qualifiers) in the main draw for the first time in Indian Wells: Inigo Cervantes, Jared Donaldson (WC), Damir Dzumhur, Kyle Edmund, Taylor Fritz (WC), Mackenzie McDonald (WC), John Millman, Lucas Pouille, Frances Tiafoe (WC) and Alexander Zverev.

Strong Doubles Field – Five of the Top 10 teams in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings are entered in the draw, led by Australian Open champions Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. The reigning champions are Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock. The top seeds are Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau. Here is a look at the Top 10 teams entered:

1) Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares

2) Daniel Nestor & Radek Stepanek

3) Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah

T8) Pablo Cuevas & Marcel Granollers

10) Jean-Julien Rojer & Horia Tecau

Former Champions in Draw – There are two teams on the entry list who are former champions in Indian Wells – Bob and Mike Bryan (2013-14) and Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock (2015). There are two other players who have won the title playing with different partners:

- Marc Lopez (2010 & 2012)

- Daniel Nestor (1997, 2002, ’05-06): making 21st tournament appearance

In Case You Missed It

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic helped Great Britain and Serbia reach the Davis Cup quarter-finals. Read

John Isner and the United States will host Borna Coric and the Croats in the next round of the Davis Cup. Read

Rankings Movers

Guido Pella 40 (+2) – Career high

Tommy Robredo 41 (+2)

Paul-Henri Mathieu 62 (+7)

Birthdays

18 March – Pierre-Hugues Herbert (25)

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