Just five months after the 2021, Indian Wells returns to its normal spot in the year. The ‘fifth slam’ is the biggest tournament on tour outside of the slams.
Last year’s Indian Wells saw the first British winner in Cameron Norrie. After a series of upsets, he defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili.
The doubles was won by Peers and Polasek.
Wildcards haven’t been announced yet, but two British players are being talked about for the spots; Andy Murray and Jack Draper.
The seeds have been announced, and they all receive a bye into the second round.
The defending champion
Cameron Norrie is world number 12, and 12th seed, thanks in no small part to his Indian Wells victory. He had a poor January, failing to win a single match at the ATP cup and the Australian Open.
However Norrie has had a strong february, winning a third career title by defeating Reilly Opelka in the Delray beach final. He then went on to reach the final in Acapulco, losing to Nadal, but defeating Isner and Tsitsipas among others along the way.
He’s in great form, but Norrie got a bit lucky with his draw last year. He’s playing better tennis than last year, but it’s going to take a bit of luck if he wants to take his second Indian Wells.
World number one
Newly crowned world number one, Daniil Medvedev is still searching for his first title in 2022. He had a strong ATP Cup, trying to carry a poorly equipped team Russia. Medvedev looked good in the Australian Open, making the final and almost winning it.
This February, Medvedev was once again defeated by Nadal, this time in the Acapulco semifinals.
Medvedev has finally reached world number one, and he’s looking to stamp his authority down before Djokovic or Nadal make a lunge for it back. He starts as the number one seed.
The Russian has never made it beyond the third round here, in three attempts he always seems to fall at the third hurdle.
There is also the question of whether he’s had the fight knocked out of him after the Australian Open, either way he’ll be a dangerous player.
Australian Open champion
Rafael Nadal has burst back onto the scene, after six months out with injury, he has made it to March undefeated, 15-0.
Nadal won his 21st grand slam, showing determination, endurance and intelligence. He started the season with a title win in Melbourne. And in February, he won his third season title in Acapulco.
The Spanish legend is back with a vengeance and a hot favourite for a fourth Indian Wells, a fourth season title, and a 92nd career title. Strangely, he’s also the fourth seed.
The five time winner
Novak Djokovic, isn’t the only five time winner of Indian Wells, but he is the only one in attendance.
The 20 time grand slam champion is something of an unknown quality this year. The biggest tournament he has played is the Dubai 500, in fact it’s the only tournament he’s played this year, and he lost in the quarterfinals to an in-form 123 ranked Jiri Vesely.
Djokovic is always a great player, but he’s not had the best 2022, and there is still some doubt if he’ll be allowed into America without the vaccination he fervently refuses.
If he makes the start, he’ll be second seed, and should be a strong contender, but a victory may be tricky without any top end matches played.
Other noteworthy players
Zverev (3) – Looking to get his season started, world number three, strong over best of three tennis.
Tsitsipas (5) – AO semifinalist, dropped a rank, looking for first title this year.
Rublev (6) – Two titles in February, in form, dropped a rank.
Berrettini (7) – AO semifinalist, looking for first title this year.
Auger Aliassime (9) – Won first career title in Rotterdam 500.
Sinner (11) – Looking for his first title this year.
Alcaraz (19) – Won Rio 500, touted to climb the ranks.
Thiem – Returning from wrist injury, had finger injury in January, former champion (2019).
Murray – Former finalist, struggling with second rounds, likely wildcard.