Players with the Most Impressive Track Record at Indian Wells

Will MedlockFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2015

Players with the Most Impressive Track Record at Indian Wells

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    Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

    With the season now in full swing ahead of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells this week, the time is right to look at the track records of players who have made the tournament their own in recent years.

    Roger Federer enjoyed a prolific spell at Indian Wells in the mid-2000s and will be determined to win his second title in California in three years.

    It wasn't long ago that considering Rafael Nadal as anything other than an outright favourite for a tournament was incomprehensible. A slow start to the year could be turned right around if he can win at a tournament where he's enjoyed plenty of success.

    The following slides will analyse the track records of four of the players taking part at Indian Wells this week.

Maria Sharapova

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    Christian Palma/Associated Press

    A cynic might say that Maria Sharapova's two wins—in 2006 and 2013—and another final appearance from her efforts at Indian Wells is down to the absence of a certain American. 

    That argument has it foundations built on a lot of ifs, buts and maybes. 

    Since 2000, only Daniela Hantuchova and Kim Clijsters have won as many tournaments at Indian Wells as the Russian. 

    That Sharapova also has both a title and a final berth at the tournament since either Hantuchova or Clijsters last won makes her the most successful woman there in recent times.

    The chance to win her third title at Indian Wells coincides with the return of the aforementioned American, Serena Williams.

    A script-writer couldn't have crafted the storyline better. 

Roger Federer

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    Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

    Between 2004 and 2006, Roger Federer secured eight Grand Slams. The player of a generation was dismissing all before him, and few could keep up.

    Sandwiched in between those titles were three consecutive Indian Wells victories; something not even serial Masters winner Novak Djokovic has achieved.

    Federer also won three years ago against John Isner and made the final last year, only to be beaten on a third set tiebreak against Djokovic.

    The world No. 2 will probably not experience the salad days of the mid-2000s again. It won't be for a lack of fire or determination.

    That fire will have been stoked after losing to Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open. He will have to bide his time before he gets another shot at his 18th slam, but the next best thing would be a Masters win.

    With his Indian Wells resume, who would bet against him?

Novak Djokovic

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    Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

    Generations to come will think the Masters events were named after Novak Djokovic given his 20 titles across the various tournaments.

    Three of his 20 titles have come at Indian Wells—in 2008, 2011 and 2014. He was also a finalist in 2007, but Rafael Nadal edged him out to win his first title at the event.

    With that win, Nadal had ended Federer's run of three straight titles in California. Djokovic's success a year later against Mardy Fish would be a sign that Federer's dominance was about to face another challenge.

    No player since Federer in 2006 has won Indian Wells titles back-to-back, so the incentive is there for Djokovic to add another impressive feat to his achievements.

    At 27 years old, the game is still there to be dominated by the Serbian for another four to five years. He has already claimed this year's Australian Open. It would be fitting for him to follow Grand Slam success with another Masters title in 2015.

Rafael Nadal

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    Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press

    After Nadal lost to Fabio Fognini on clay in Rio last month, the equilibrium in the tennis stratosphere seemed slightly off centre.

    Of course, the Spaniard was hardly in the form of his life before that three-set defeat. He had started the year losing to Michael Berrer in Doha and crashing out of the Australian Open to Tomas Berdych in straight sets.

    So for Nadal to now be in a position where he can win his second tournament in a row seems a stark contrast to where he found himself in the opening weeks.

    He certainly won't be a favourite heading into this week's tournament, but his win in Buenos Aires, even against modest opposition, will give him a foundation to build upon.

    His track record at Indian Wells is strong, with three titles there since 2007 and a final defeat in 2011 to Novak Djokovic.

    This will be another test of Nadal's strength since returning from injury. Results this year have been mixed, and the doubters have been loud and clear. There's only one way to silence them.


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