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Scouting Report: 44 Of Top 50 Compete 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 World Tour 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 which includes 18 of the Top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings (44 of the Top 50) overall as of 6 March 2017. This is the 42nd edition of the tournament, which was first held at nearby Mission Hills in Palm Springs in 1976.

•    BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells): Three of the Big Four (except Murray) have accounted for 12 of the past 13 titles going back to 2004 when Roger Federer captured the first of his four titles (2004-06, 2012). Overall a Top 5 player in the Emirates ATP Rankings has lifted the champion’s trophy in 15 of the past 16 years, except 2010 when No. 26 Ivan Ljubicic won the title.  World No. 2 and five-time champion Novak Djokovic (2008, 2011, 2014-15-16) and three-time winner Rafael Nadal (2007, ’09, ’13) are the other title holders in the field.

•    Big Four Masters 1000 Dominance: The ‘Big Four’ of Murray, Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have won 56 of the last 61 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, which dates back to Nadal’s triumph at Monte-Carlo in 2010.  The only other players to emerge with an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title during that time are: Robin Soderling (2010 Paris), David Ferrer (2012 Paris), Stan Wawrinka (2014 Monte-Carlo), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2014 Toronto) and Marin Cilic (2016 Cincinnati). Here is a breakdown of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles won by the Big Four during that span: Djokovic (25), Nadal (13), Murray (10) and Federer (8):

•    Big Four ATP Masters 1000 Titles: Here are the year-by-year ATP Masters 1000 titles of the Big Four since 2010:

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Murray 2 2 0 1 0 2 3
Djokovic 0 5 3 3 4 6 4
Nadal 3 1 2 5 1 0 1
Federer 1 1 3 0 2 1 0

You May Also Like: Masters Of The Masters: 'Big Four' Riding Wave Of Dominance
 

•    ATP Masters 1000 Titles: Here are the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title leaders (since 1990):

Player No.
1) Novak Djokovic 30
2) Rafael Nadal 28
3) Roger Federer 24
4) Andre Agassi 17
5) Andy Murray 14

•    ATP Masters 1000 Match Wins Leaders: Djokovic is closing in on 300 career ATP World Tour Masters 1000 match wins. Here are leaders (since 1990):

Player W-L Record
1) Roger Federer 330-98
2) Rafael Nadal 317-70
3) Novak Djokovic 298-62
4) Andy Murray 210-76
5) Andre Agassi 209-73

•    Murray Top Seed:  Murray is the top seed in Indian Wells for the first time in his career. The World No. 1 is making his 12th straight appearance (25-11 record) and he’s looking for his first title. His best result was a runner-up in 2009 (l. to Nadal). He also reached the semi-finals in 2007 and 2015 (l. to Djokovic in both). Last year he lost in the 3R (l. to Delbonis in 3rd set TB). The 29-year-old British superstar comes in with a 12-2 match record on the season after capturing his 45th career title in Dubai (d. Verdasco). He also lost in the 4R at the Australian Open (l. to M. Zverev) and opened the season by reaching the final in Doha (l. to Djokovic). This will be the 18th consecutive week he’s held No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings since first taking over the top spot on Nov. 7.

•    Djokovic Reigning Champion: Djokovic enters as the three-time reigning champion and tournament record five-time title holder. He has a 17-match winning streak in Indian Wells since his last loss to Juan Martin del Potro in the 2013 semi-finals. Djokovic has a 47-6 career record and he has advanced to the semi-finals or better in eight of his previous 11 appearances. The 29-year-old Serb is 9-2 on the season. He opened with a title in Doha (d. Murray), lost in the 2R at the Australian Open (l. to Istomin), won a Davis Cup match vs. Russia (d. Medvedev) and reached the quarter-finals in Acapulco (l. to Kyrgios). He has 760 career match wins and he is two wins away from tying Pete Sampras for 10th place on the Open Era list.

•    Roger Returns: After missing last year’s tournament due to a knee injury, Federer returns to Indian Wells for the 16th time. The 35-year-old Swiss superstar has a 52-11 match record, winning titles in 2004-06 and 2012. He also was runner-up in his last two visits in 2014-15 (l. to Djokovic both times). Federer is playing in his second tournament (8-1 record) since capturing his 18th career Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open on Jan. 29 (d. Nadal in five sets). He became the second player to win a Grand Slam crown defeating four Top 10 opponents along the way (Mats Wilander in 1982 Roland Garros). Last week in Dubai he lost in the 2R (l. to Donskoy in third set TB after holding 3 MPs). Last year he played his last match at the Wimbledon semi-finals on July 8, 2016 when he lost in five sets to Raonic. He missed the rest of last season with a knee injury.

•    Nadal Eyes 70th Title: Three-time BNP Paribas Open champion Nadal is making his 13th appearance in Indian Wells (48-9 record). The 30-year-old Spaniard has won his three titles in odd years (2007, 2009, 2013) while reaching the final in 2011. Nadal is coming off a runner-up in Acapulco where he lost to Sam Querrey 63 76, suffering his first loss in Mexico (14-1). It was also his 30th tournament played on hard courts without a title, the longest of his career. Nadal is not only trying to capture his 70th career title, he is also aiming to earn his first hard court title since Doha in January 2014 (d. Monfils). Nadal has a 12-3 record on the season and he opened the year by reaching the quarter-finals in Brisbane (l. to Raonic) and following with a runner-up at the Australian Open.

•    Tsonga on a Roll: No. 7 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is off to his best career start since 2009 when he began with a 21-3 record. The 31-year-old Frenchman is 17-3 this season with back-to-back titles in Rotterdam (d. Goffin) and Marseille (d. Pouille). He enters Indian Wells on a nine-match winning streak. The top Frenchman has a 13-8 match record in Indian Wells with his best results the quarter-finals in 2013 and last year (l. to Djokovic in both).

•    Success to No. 1: In six of the last seven years (and eight of the last 11), the year-end No. 1 player in the Emirates ATP Rankings has won the most ATP World Tour Masters 1000 matches during that season. Last year No. 2 Djokovic won 31 matches followed by Murray with 27. Here’s a look at the year-end No. 1 players back to 2010:

Year Year-End No. 1 Win-Loss Titles
2016 Andy Murray 27-5 3
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

Note: Then No. 2-ranked Federer also won 28 ATP Masters 1000 matches in 2014

•    #NextGenATP Stars: There are eight #NextGenATP players in the main draw, including five teenagers (not including possible qualifiers). Here’s a look at the talented 21 & under group listed in ranking order: 

Main Draw Rank Age
Alexander Zverev No. 20 19
Karen Khachanov No. 52 20
Daniil Medvedev No. 58 21
Borna Coric No. 59 20
Frances Tiafoe (WC) No. 86 (C-H) 19
Stefan Kozlov (WC) No. 116 19
Taylor Fritz (WC) No. 136 19
Reilly Opelka (WC) No. 174 19

•    400 Match Wins Milestone: There are three players who could reach the 400 career match wins milestone in Indian Wells:                                   

Philipp Kohlschreiber 399                                  
Gael Monfils 397                             
Marin Cilic 396

•    Americans Off to Quick Start: For the first time since 2003, there have been four American ATP World Tour winners going into Indian Wells. Top American Jack Sock has won two titles (Auckland, Delray Beach) along with Ryan Harrison (Memphis) and Sam Querrey (Acapulco). Three of the titles have come in three consecutive weeks and the last time that occurred was in 2012 with John Isner (Newport), Andy Roddick (Atlanta) and Querrey (Los Angeles). The four American titles are the most in a season since 2013 with five.

•    Infosys ATP World Tour Wins Leaders: Tsonga has compiled a 17-3 match record this season and his 17 wins is the most on the ATP World Tour. Here are this year’s match wins leaders:

Player W-L Titles
1) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 17-3 2
2) Grigor Dimitrov 16-2 2
3) Dominic Thiem 14-6 1
4) David Goffin 13-5 0
5) Andy Murray 12-2 1
Rafael Nadal 12-3 0
Roberto Bautista Agut 12-4 1
Pablo Carreno Busta 12-6 0

•    Strong Doubles Field: The top six teams in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings are entered in the draw, led by Australian Open champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers. The top seeds are reigning champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. Here is a look at the Top 6 teams entered: 

1) Henri Kontinen & John Peers
2) Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan
3) Jean-Julien Rojer & Horia Tecau
4) Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares
5) Ivan Dodig & Marcel Granollers
6) Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah

•    Former Champions in Draw: There are two teams expected to be in the draw: reigning champions Herbert & Mahut along with 2013-14 winners Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. There are five other players who have won the title with different partners:

-- Vasek Pospisil (2015)
-- Jack Sock (2015)
-- Marc Lopez (2010 & 2012)
-- Rafael Nadal (2010 & 2012)
-- Daniel Nestor (1997, 2002, ’05-06): making 22nd tournament appearance

•    Top 10 Playing Doubles: There are three of the Top 10 singles players in the Emirates ATP Rankings on the advance entry list:

No. 6 Rafael Nadal (w/Tomic)
No. 7 Marin Cilic (w/Mektic)
No. 9 Dominic Thiem (w/Kohlschreiber)

In Case You Missed It

World No. 1 Andy Murray captured the 45th tour-level singles trophy of his career, beating Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-2 in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final. Read & Watch

Sam Querrey beat four Top 20 players en route to clinching the Abierto Mexicano Telcel trophy, beating Rafael Nadal 6-3, 7-6(3) in the Acapulco final. Read & Watch

Catch up on off-court activities in Dubai, Acapulco and Sao Paulo. Read & Watch Best of ATP Stars