The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California will take place between the 5th and 18th March 2018.
The tournament is part of both the ATP and WTA Tour, carrying significant weight on each as a Masters 1000 event for the men and Premier Mandatory event for the women. Indian Wells is, without doubt, one of the biggest tournaments outside the Grand Slam events and enjoys huge crowds.
The greats of the men’s game have won this tournament including Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, the latter of which is the defending champion.
Some of the top female players in the history of tennis have won Indian Wells including Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis and Serena Williams. The defending ladies champion coming into the 2018 tournament is Elena Vesnina, who defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets last year.
Indian Wells is played on a hard-court surface and has the second-largest permanent tennis stadium in the world, allowing huge numbers of spectators to watch the action.
All the top names will be at this tournament and it could begin with Roger Federer as the oldest world number one in the history of men’s tennis. However, with the seedings completed in advance, the Swiss will be the second seed, with Rafael Nadal taking top spot.
Over the last four years, Federer and Novak Djokovic have dominated this tournament and only Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka have made the final during that time, losing to Djokovic and Federer respectively.
Given his injury problems, it is unlikely Djokovic is going to make the final in 2018 and this could pave the way for Australian Open finalist, Marin Cilic or young German sensation, Alexander Zverev to reach the final. However, it would be foolish to look beyond the top two seeds for the title.
Into the women’s draw and Australian Open champion, Caroline Wozniacki, will start the tournament as the number one seed and should remain world number one following her performance in Qatar. The Dane has enjoyed a great start to the year and will be difficult to beat in California if she remains at the top of her game.
Simona Halep was forced to withdraw from the Qatar Open following her comfortable win over American CiCi Bellis with a right foot injury. The Romanian did not want to risk further damage by continuing in the tournament and will be out at least until Indian Wells. Even if Halep does return in time for this tournament, she may be below her top level following the injury.
Without Serena Williams in the draw, Indian Wells appears to open this year and the title has changed hands every year since 1991, with not one player being able to win the tournament back-to-back.
One player in the draw who is yet to win at Indian Wells is Karolina Pliskova and the Czech enjoys playing on hard courts, as shown by her most recent WTA Tour victories. The fifth seed reached the quarter-final and semi-final of the Australian Open and Brisbane Open respectively and could enjoy a deep run at Indian Wells this year.
The 2018 Indian Wells tournament is set to be a fantastic event. With legends of the men’s game including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal battling it out plus a very open draw in the ladies’ section, the passionate crowd are set for a tremendous two weeks of action.