Earlier today, Roger Federer defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5, in the championship of the BNP Paribas Open. After a tournament filled with upsets, triumphs, and high-quality tennis, here are four takeaways that I took out of the tournament.
At this rate, it doesn’t look like Andy Murray will be our world No. 1 for very long. This year so far has been a massive disappointment for Murray. After a round of sixteen exit from the Australian Open, Murray came into Indian Wells looking to regain that momentum he had at the end of 2016, but all he found was a loss in his first match to Vasek Pospisil. On top of that, he now has pulled out of next week’s Miami Open due to injury. Murray really just hasn’t looked like a world No. 1 so far in his stint, and if this continues he won’t be at the top for much longer.
- Novak Djokovic’s struggles continue and show no signs of stopping. In his favorite tournament, the Australian Open, Djokovic was beaten in the second round by Denis Istomin. This week he lost again to Nick Kyrgios after losing to him in the Mexican Open a week prior. I’ve been on the record saying Djokovic hasn’t looked like himself in the last six months and considering that now he’s pulled out of the Miami Open where he was the defending champion, his No. 2 ranking is about to be in jeopardy. Something’s changed for him mentally since last year’s French Open, and at this rate, it’s looking less and less likely that he’ll ever get back to where he was.
- Roger Federer is back atop of the tennis world. The greatest player of time is playing some of his best tennis at age 35. After winning the Australian Open, people remained skeptical about Federer’s ability to maintain that high level of play considering his age. After this week the answer to that question seems clear. Federer has looked nothing short of spectacular this year, winning in Indian Wells without dropping a set and only being broken once. He obliterated his long-time rival Rafael Nadal, made his way out of the “quarter of death”, and beat Stan Wawrinka rather easily. He’s been rolling on his service games, hitting his backhand incredibly, and looks physically rejuvenated. At this point, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say he could win another major or two this year and considering what’s going on with Djokovic and Murray it seems even more likely that he will.
- Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka have looked like true contenders so far this year. Nadal was so close to stealing Federer’s trophy in Australia, and if he hadn’t been handed such a tough draw in Indian Wells he probably would’ve gone far there as well. Wawrinka has also been great this year, his only losses in the big tournaments have been to Federer, and he also was extremely close to taking him out in Australia. If these two continue to play this way, they will be the top contenders at Roland Garros (especially Nadal bearing injury) along with Federer.