The season’s first Masters 1000 event gets underway Thursday in the sparkling desert at Indian Wells, California, site of the BNP Paribas Open.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal, who beat Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 for the 2013 Indian Wells title, will attempt to join Roger Federer as a four-time titlist at the event. Nadal, the Australian Open fianlist, is 16-1 on the year and is a winner in the desert in 2007, 2009 and 2013.
Novak Djokovic, who beat Mardy Fish (2008) and Rafael Nadal (2011) for Indian Wells titles, has a 30-6 tournament record and 16 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns. But hasn’t won a tournament in two title defenses this year under new coach Boris Becker.
Roger Federer, the 2004-06 and 2012 champion and a winner of 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies, has a 42-9 event record at the event. And this enters in form after an Australian Open semifinal and a Dubai title last week where he beat Djokovic and Tomas Berdych.
Andy Murray has never won in the desert and in eight prior trips has only made the finals once (2009 losing to Nadal) and reached the semis just twice (2007, 2009). A quarterfinalist a year ago losing to Del Potro, Murray is hoping his first Masters 1000 event since back surgery will lift him back into form.
Stanislas Wawrinka competes at his first ATP tournament since lifting the Australian Open trophy. He will hope to improve on 2008 and 2011 quarterfinal runs. He has an 11-0 record in 2014 but this is the first time he’ll play a tournament as a Grand Slam champion.
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