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Indian Wells Masters: Five ATP players to watch

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from this year's Indian Wells Masters prior to the main draw being made but there is still a star-studded lineup of players heading to the ATP Masters 1000 event in California.

Rafael Nadal is also out of the event, having made the final last year, and his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz takes top seed. 

Things have been warming up on the ATP tour in the weeks building up to this event and here is a look at five players who could be worth keeping an eye on at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

WhatATP Indian Wells
WhereIndian Wells Tennis Garden, California, USA
WhenWednesday 8th March 2023 - Sunday 19th March 2023
How to watchAmazon Prime

Alcaraz aiming to come out on top 

Djokovic's withdrawal from Indian Wells would have likely been music to the ears of young Spaniard Alcaraz, who could regain the world number one spot if he wins the Masters 1000 event. 

He takes the top seed at the event and there is every reason to believe he could go deep in the tournament after some strong showings during the South American clay-court circuit. 

Last month, Alcaraz, who is 7/4 to win the 2023 French Open, won his first title of the season at the Buenos Aires Open in Argentina, defeating Cameron Norrie in the final, and also made the final of the Rio Open in Brazil, that time finishing runner-up to Briton Norrie. 

Alcaraz missed the first Grand Slam of the season - the Australian Open - through injury and will be determined to get back on track on the ATP tour, so watch this space when the 19-year-old takes to the courts in California.

Norrie goes from strength to strength 

In 2022, British talent Norrie reached the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells Masters and it would be no surprise if this year's tenth seed went at least a step further this month. 

As mentioned, Norrie is fresh from making back-to-back finals on the clay courts in South America, picking up the title in Rio de Janeiro, but he should not find the switch back to the hard courts in Indian Wells too tricky to handle. 

Norrie, a 50/1 shot for the French Open title, started 2023 with a run to the final of the ASB Classic before equalling his best ever performance at the Australian Open, making the third round in which he was beaten by tournament surprise package Jiri Lehecka in five sets.

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Defending champion Fritz looking to make home advantage count again 

Taylor Fritz may not be the first name that jumps off the list for this year's Indian Wells Masters but the 25-year-old goes into the Masters 1000 event as defending champion. 

Fritz sank Nadal 6-3 7-6 in last year's final and has had a busy schedule building up to his title defence, reaching the semi-finals of the ATP Dallas and the ATP Acapulco either side of winning the Delray Beach Open. 

He looks in good nick and, with a home crowd behind him again, the fourth seed could be worth monitoring.

De Minaur fresh from Acapulco triumph 

Australian Alex De Minaur should be bursting with confidence ahead of the Indian Wells Masters, having just picked up his biggest ever career title in Acapulco in Mexico. 

De Minaur claimed his first ATP 500 title with a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory over Tommy Paul, having also come back from a set down to defeat Holger Rune in the last four. 

The Sydney-born 24-year-old utilised home advantage at the Australian Open earlier this season, reaching the fourth round before being dumped out by the imperious Djokovic, and it is shaping up to be a good 2023 for him.

Youngster Baez showed promise in South America 

It is fair to say 22-year-old Sebastian Baez is not considered a title contender for the Indian Wells Masters but that is not to say he could not put together a decent run in California. 

Although he looks more adept on clay than the hard courts, the recent performances of Baez should not go unnoticed. 

At the start of February, he made his mark by claiming the Cordoba Open title but then underperformed in his native Argentina, losing his first match in the Buenos Aires Open. 

But that was swiftly followed by runs to the quarter-finals of the Rio Open and semi-finals of the Chile Open. 

He arguably should have gone even further in both of those events but this is ultimately a player with a lot of tennis under his belt right now and he could make an impact in the USA.

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