The 2017 edition of the BNP Paribas Open is almost here. Indian Wells is one of the treasured tournaments of the tennis season. All the top players who are healthy or eligible attend an event that is sometimes referred to as “the fifth major.” That’s partly because this event (like Miami) has a larger field than any other non-Grand Slam event on tour. The prize money is enormous. There are days off between early-round matches. The event takes a week and a half, which is more than a regular tour event.
The competition in the 96-player main draw began on Thursday, March 9.
Event: BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells)
Category: ATP World Tour – Masters 1000
Date: March 9 – 19, 2017
Location: Indian Wells Tennis Garden – Indian Wells, California
With a prize money allotment of just under $7 million, the 1,000-point tournament is more lucrative than any non-Grand Slam, non-World Tour Finals event. The value is immense beyond the cash prize, too: This is the first 1,000-point tournament of the season (there are nine in total), and since it’s immediately followed by another 1,000-point tournament in Miami, players want to be sure they can make a big point gain here. They then have to adjust to different conditions in Miami. If they can flourish in California, Miami offers a lot less pressure.
Champion – 1,000 points
Runner-up – 600
Semifinal – 360
Quarterfinal – 180
Round of 16 – 90
Round of 32 – 45
Former Champions and Results (5 Years)
Year Champion Runner-up Score
2016 – Novak Djokovic def. Milos Raonic – 6-2, 6-0
2015 – Novak Djokovic def. Roger Federer – 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2
2014 – Novak Djokovic def. Roger Federer – 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3)
2013 – Rafael Nadal def. Juan Martin del Potro – 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
2012 – Roger Federer def. John Isner – 7-6 (7), 6-3
Since Andy Murray’s ascension as the world’s top ranked player, he hasn’t discovered his old touch, which enabled him to win six straight ATP titles last year. His loss to Novak Djokovic in Doha didn’t surprise many, but his defeat to unseeded Mischa Zverev in the fourth round of the Australian Open shocked tennis pundits. How will he recover from the mini slump? Murray has been historically poor in California. He was the finalist once in 2009 but never has come close to matching that feat. Murray lost to Federico Delbonis in straights sets in the third round last year, and although Murray is a No. 1 player, the Brit must prove he can go all the way.
Novak Djokovic is the most successful tennis player to have ever stepped in the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, triumphing a record five times at this tournament. Djokovic’s last three visits to the desert have not seen him lose a single match, but that could change this year. The Serbian is short on confidence and is searching for form. His late decision to play an ATP 500 event in Acapulco suggests he is desperate to get back in the groove in time for Indian Wells. Djokovic lost to Nick Kyrgios in Acapulco, so he comes to California shrouded in uncertainty.
Rafael Nadal is the three-time champion at this event who knows how to play in the desert. Nadal looked in good form last year but was dismissed in straight sets by Djokovic in the semifinals. Like Djokovic, the Spaniard is also in Acapulco testing his form and fitness ahead of the first Masters 1000 tournament of the season. Nadal won’t start as the favorite, but nobody saw him in the finals in Melbourne before that tournament began.
Roger Federer is back in Indian Wells. After missing this event last season due to knee injury, he is ready for a return and a chance to pick up a lot of points. Federer’s last two trips to the desert have ended on a painful note, losing both times (2014, 2015) to Djokovic in the deciding third set of the final, but he is the four-time Indian Wells champion. The draws will be unforgiving with his lower seed, but he showed in Melbourne that he can pass that hurdle. The conditions suit his style of play and he is hitting the ball crisply. His groin still remains a major concern after Australia, when he needed medical timeouts in multiple matches.
Grigor Dimitrov won the title in Brisbane defeating three top-10 players. He made the semifinals of the Australian Open, and then went on to win another title in Bulgaria, his home tourney. Under coach Dani Vallverdu, Dimitrov has made significant improvements and now looks like one who can challenge the top dogs for the most important titles. He is one of the most in form players on the tour but it will be intriguing to see how long he can maintain his excellent form.
Indian Wells Tennis Garden
The Indian Wells Tennis Garden is a mammoth tennis complex with a full-service, year-round tennis club. The Garden hosts numerous and diverse tennis activities on a regular basis, for both adults and junior tennis players. The modernized amendments to the larger grounds were built in 2000, and a series of additional embellishments aimed at revenue generation and improving the experience of the tournament, for fans and players, have also been made in more recent years.
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