Three Men to watch out for in Indian Wells

Grigor Dimitrov BNP Paribas Open-Day 12

Yes, thankfully it’s that time again. No disrespect to the Argentina clay court swing of 250 events, or the Marseille indoor tournament that sees none of the top dogs compete. Or even the Texas indoors with the stadium ambience of an abandoned carpark, but real tennis is back. The Sunshine Double is one of the most entertaining times of the year for tennis fans, with two Masters 1000 events in the U.S.A. back-to-back. From a personal point of view, Indian Wells is my favourite tournament of the season, with the Grand Slams and season-ending round-robins. The recently-introduced controversial ten-day format adds a bit more prestige in my opinion, even if it can become a slow-burner at times. Last year’s drama was quite special. Maria Sakkari finally broke her semifinal duck, while Rafael Nadal and Taylor Fritz battled out an epic. If it’s half as good as that we will be in for a treat. Here are three men to look out for this fortnight:

Three Men to watch out for in Indian Wells

Andy Murray

Okay, perhaps a tad biased, although very reasonable as well. The experienced Scot has started 2023 on fire with all the signs being positive. In my opinion he is playing the most impressive tennis since 2019. Considering it is coming at the start of the season, it is extremely promising for what awaits him. It’s been a season full of roller coasters when he is involved, with a frightening number amount of hours spent on court. This ten-day format will work to his advantage as well as he will get that opportunity to reset his batteries. This is crucial for a man of his age who also happens to possess a metal hip, of course. His first round draw isn’t too challenging. However, his overall bracket looks tough. While he is unlikely to be a contender for the title, there is no reason why he can’t put together another positive run. An Indian Wells rematch against Carlos Alcaraz looks likely in this section. With Alcaraz not being fully fit you never really know. The point being with Andy Murray, it’s almost impossible not to find yourself dreaming about his prospects.

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Cameron Norrie

Well, of course, the 2021 winner was never going to be left out, was he? It’s been a solid start to the season for the Brit despite his early exit from the Australian Open. A run of clay court events saw him defeat Carlos Alcaraz in the final of one but lose in the other (hardly embarrassing). How will the transition to the hard courts affect him? Truth be told, that’s where he feels most at home, but it will be interesting. The only reason he played in the South American clay court swing was due to being there previously for a Davis Cup tie. He publicly said that he was proud of his efforts as clay is normally his weakest surface. Furthermore, his performance on the Southern American clay courts makes one wonder how he’ll perform on hard surfaces. Even if he’s not able to adjust straight away in Indian Wells I have no doubt that come Miami he will be in serious contention.

Grigor Dimitrov

“Baby Federer” as some know him. 2023 has been a year of progress so far. Just how entertaining was that clash with Alex De Minuar? In terms of quality it was as good as I’ve seen this season. It’s been the first season in a while in which the Bulgarian has had a solid and consistent start to the season. Yet, all too often he falls off a cliff when in form or gets injured. It’s sad in a way that the ATP Finals victory he has is his only serious piece of silverware when you take into consideration his talent, is underwhelming. Some would argue it’s been a “nearly career” for him. This week though I have a feeling it’ll be one of the more positive ones in his career.

Main Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports