Whilst we freeze in Britain the top players on the ATP tour are heading off to the Californian desert of Indian Wells as the first Masters 1000 of the year is here but who if anyone can stop Roger Federer.
Roger the favourite?
Of course he is. No one has been to more finals than Roger at Indian Wells winning 5 of the 7 he has played losing just to Novak Djokovic but of course Roger is the defending champion here.
Who is missing?
Well, where do we begin? The ATP tour is like an episode of casualty at the moment with many missing but who won’t be there?
Will they? Won’t they?
Kei Nishikori, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are all down to play but have been having issues themselves.
Kei has returned but isn’t near match fitness to make him a contender here at all.
Djokovic hasn’t played since Melbourne so how fit and ready is his elbow?
Nadal once again either retired or withdrew from a tournament. He cited a sharp pain in his leg, the same that what made him withdraw from the Australian Open. Nadal has now withdrawn from his last four tournaments.
So, who could make a name at Indian Wells?
Marin Cilic – Under-rated as the world number three. He did well in Melbourne making the final and is good at taking an opportunity when presented to him so I wouldn’t rule out a deep run here.
Grigor Dimitrov – Hasn’t really happened for him this season. His game has taken a dip since winning at the O2 especially his second serve which has taken a beating this year and in a word was awful against Jaziri in Dubai.
Alex Zverev – It hasn’t happened for him yet this year. He’s lost a lot of matches of late which you would put in the category of ‘should win’. Watching him a bit this year he does seem to be labouring through matches and those big performances haven’t resurfaced yet this year.
Dominic Thiem – Unpredictable and not in a good way! You never know what you will get from him. It’s been up and down for too long. I wouldn’t be too shocked on early exits, clay is where he should burst into life!
David Goffin – Dangerous player. Like to see him grab the chance by the neck if it were to come around. Not playing this week which is a smart move and of course had that freak eye injury a couple of weeks back so hopefully he will be back and ready!
Juan Martin Del Potro – I just have this feeling Juan Martin could be one the watch. He is a player for the big stage so I wouldn’t rule him out here especially with soo uncertainties about players.