The Indian Wells draw ceremony took place at midnight here in the UK, and it's a tough one for Roger who has landed in the same section as Nadal and Djokovic. With his seeding at 9th, he'd have to beat both of them potentially to make the semi-finals!
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Bye
- Round 2: Dudi Sela / Stephane Robert
- Round 3: Steve Johnson
- Round 4: Rafael Nadal
- Quarter Final: Novak Djokovic
- Semi Final: Kei Nishikori
- Final: Andy Murray
Thoughts on the Draw
After the standard bye in the 1st round, Federer will either face Dudi Sela or Stephane Robert. That's a great first match whoever he plays, neither of them has made it out of the first round here before, and they don't have the game to trouble Roger. Robert is certainly tricky with his style, but Fed would need to have a day to lose that one.
Round 3 gets much tougher though with Steve Johnson or Kevin Anderson the likely opponents. Anderson is on his way back from injury and is yet to win a match, but conditions in Indian Wells suit him.
Johnson is a tough customer, but Roger handled him easily at Wimbledon, and his backhand is a liability, so he'd need a perfect serve + forehand day to win. Donskoy proved anything is possible, but Roger owns Anderson and Johnson doesn't have a good record against Top 10.
The fourth round is then seeded to be Nadal who might have to play Fiasco in the third round who's in a bit of form. This one will be interesting if it happens after what occurred in Melbourne. Fed has never beaten Nadal three times in a row, so it's tough to call. Slow court but quick through the air, 1-1 in Indian Wells. Fifty-fifty I think.
The quarters has Djokovic has the seeded opponent, but he's a bit of an unknown given his recent form. He's on an 18 match winning streak in Indian Wells, but I'm not sure what that counts for, Melbourne was another stronghold of his and Istomin happened. I don't follow Novak that closely but he looks like he's lost weight when he was already pretty wiry and just isn't quite at the superhuman level he maintained from 2011 until the French Open last year.
It seems pointless looking further than Round 4, but the semis is then Kei who had a weak clay swing in South America and then Murray in the final who has a real cakewalk draw.
The Other Half Of The Draw
With Roger's section packed, Murray's half is looking pretty light, and you can't see that much trouble in his way. His record isn't great in Indian Wells though so not unthinkable someone like Bautista-Agut pushes him. Tsonga and Wawrinka are also in his section, Jo is in good form winning back to back titles and Stan is coming in off a first round loss in Dubai, but they're both massively unpredictable so they could either crash early or win the whole thing.
Anway, aside from the obvious interest here of seeing how Roger will fare, the most interesting question is will the Federer, Djokovic, Nadal stranglehold in Indian Wells come to an end? They've won 13 of the last 14 between them with only Roger's coach Ljubicic breaking the streak in 2010. I'm going to say yes, and we get a first time Masters 1000 winner.
What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments.