As you can see from my new banner, it's time for Indian Wells!! It's one of the biggest non-grand slam tournaments of the year and one that fans thoroughly enjoy coming to. And that is definitely the case for me, as I will be heading to the sun kissed, palm tree studded area on Friday. It will be my third year in a row and I can't wait!
My two experiences have been amazing! The first year I had the privilege to watch Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka play doubles together from very close up. That, along with watching Roger practice and just in general the first experience of being at this incredible tournament got me hooked. Once you've been it's almost impossible to not be drawn back. Last year I watched Federer play Milos Raonic from a very close distance, which was the tennis highlight of my life! The biggest thing that stood out for me that I noticed watching so close up that's hard to catch on TV is the incredible athleticism as they tear around the court. It was truly an amazing experience and I hope to watch Roger close up again this year, both in practice and in a match.
This year will be interesting due to the fact that Rafael Nadal has decided to play, which he was unsure about as he was waiting to see how his knee responded. After his first three tournaments back on clay, winning two of those, the last with an incredible 6-0 6-2 victory over world #4 David Ferrer, I am very curious to see how Rafa plays in his first hard court tournament since his seven month injury lay off. And of course Federer won this tournament last year, in spite of the fact that he started the week with he and his family being sick, having a fever during his first couple matches. I sincerely hope he can step up and play his very best tennis before he takes an almost two month break before his next one in Madrid. Novak Djokovic is playing some really superb tennis once again, not having lost a match so far this year (other than one that doesn't count in the Hopman Cup against Tomic in January).
For the women unfortunately we will be missing Serena and Venus Williams, who choose not to play Indian Wells, and Li Na, who is still out with an ankle injury. The rest of the field will be there and will all be very motivated to do well at this very important tournament in their schedule.
I will try to send a couple updates during my time in sunny California letting you know what it's like up close and personal.