Expect the unexpected at Indian Wells. Often described as the 5th Grand Slam this is always an opportunity to go big. 2018 celebrates 10 years since this tournament became a Premier Mandatory on the WTA tour and in the previous 9 tournaments there has only been one multiple champion that being Victoria Azarenka and oh yeah, she’ll be there!
The pressure is there for the top ranked players on the tour and it’s an equal pressure to do well and all will have an eye on the draw especially with Serena and Vika back in the mix.
Serena has arrived!
Serena has been on site for a few days. The 22 time Grand Slam champion who won Indian Wells in 2001 for the first and only time has been practicing as she posted on snapchat. Serena only returned a few years ago to Indian Wells along with sister Venus after the racist abuse they both suffered in 2001.
The crowds are going to flood in for the appearance of Serena back on a competitive tennis court and the support I imagine will be like something we have never seen before
Vika can play!
Part of the rules under the custody battle Victoria Azarenka has been in says she can’t leave California with her son Leo. However Indian Wells is in California so all noise suggests participation is likely. She won Indian Wells back in 2016 and I am surprised she has not opted to play the Indian Wells 125k event this week just to build up match fitness.
Battle for No.1
Two former champions. Wozniacki in 2011 and Halep in 2014 will battle for world number one once again but if you ask both I’m sure they’d rather take the title here in Indian Wells. Both have been playing some good tennis this season and I’d expect them to continue this here. Halep is back at world number one and with the way she has been playing with the intensity on court I’d say pressure is on her!
Eli and Garbine
Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza are two to watch here. The heat could be an issue for them but watching Elina in Dubai I was really impressed with the way she composed herself on court on route to another title this year. I do feel that if both want to succeed her in Indian Wells they might need to be a bit more pro-active and on the front foot earlier.
Tennis moves on. I said this after her defeat to Kerber in Melbourne. Kerber was brutal and Sharapova was answerless. I question why there hasn’t been any changes to her game when she was banned as the game adapts and I don’t see her a contender here. I recently watched her play Monica Niculescu and I remember writing that it got unnecessarily messy very quickly and despite being a two time champion I can’t see her adding to her trophy cabinet here.