The season’s first Masters 1000 gets underway Thursday (women’s on Wednesday) in the picturesque desert of Indian Wells, California. Roger Federer returns as the defending champion but the clear favorite will be Novak Djokovic who’s won his last 18 matches, all on hardcourts.
2009 runner-up Andy Murray will be playing his first event on American soil since his US Open win. And it’s his first tournament after a lengthy post-Australian Open layoff. Murray, though, has played poorly there late having lost three straight matches at Indian Wells.
And all eyes, though, will be on Rafael Nadal who continues his comeback playing by testing his faulty knees on cement for the first time in almost a year. After much consternation the last few weeks of his participation, Nadal will play and he will be seeded No. 5 which means Rafa is projected to face a Top 4 player (Djokovic, Federer, Murray or David Ferrer) in the quarterfinals.
Rafa hasn’t won a hardcourt event since October 2010 in Tokyo but he has won Indian Wells twice in 2007 and 2009 and he’s made at least the semifinals all three years post 2009.
After byes, the top 32 seeds will open play on Saturday. The men’s draw is scheduled to be released Tuesday afternoon.
Indian Wells Top 8 Men’s Seeds: 1 Novak Djokovic, 2 Roger Federer, 3 Andy Murray, 4 David Ferrer, 5 Rafael Nadal, 6 Tomas Berdych, 7 Juan Martin Del Potro, 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
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