Indian Wells Draw Delivers a Surprise

The 2017 Indian Wells draw is all about the bottom quarter which has been stacked with Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Kyrgios, Zverev, and Del Potro. I think it will make things more interesting in the early rounds but I have to wonder how Djokovic can get this difficult a draw after what happened in Acapulco.

After getting Del Potro in his second match in Acapulco he gets him again in his second match in Indian Wells. The odds of that happening must have been very slim but then he also gets Kyrgios in his next match like in Acapulco.

It seems suspicious, especially with the following in mind:

So we can see of the big four, Djokovic gets the hardest draws which is the case again in Indian Wells. We can also see that Federer gets the easiest draws(Federer fans are really gonna hate both these stats).

There is also this from the French Open:

All of a sudden it becomes more than suspicious, knowing that Federer is the cash cow of the ATP while Djokovic is not nearly as popular in the west. Are draws really being rigged to favor Federer and obstruct Djokovic?

The stats say yes. You can’t trust the capitalist model. The few at the top who has power are always corrupt and rigging the playing field. It works that way in politics, business, the economy, and practically all aspects of the capitalist society.

Why wouldn’t it work that way in sport? I think this draw is a bit of a joke after what happened in Acapulco. It’s almost impossible for Djokovic to win the tournament although it’s hard to put anything beyond him.

But this is not 2015 or 2016 and he is struggling for confidence and needs matches. Del Potro is by far the toughest seed Djokovic could have gotten in the third round. If he beats him again he likely plays the winner of Kyrgios and Zverev, the two most dangerous youngsters on tour.

Should he survive that long he will play Federer or Nadal. I think if he somehow makes it that far he could potentially win the tournament because a match with Federer or Nadal may just be what he needs for confidence.

But getting that far will not be easy.

The bottom quarter of the draw is so packed with quality players that it is stronger than any ATP 500 event. Federer and Nadal don’t have draws as difficult as Djokovic but they have to face each other in the fourth round which means that’s where the tournament ends for one of them.

Hopefully, they do face each other because that would be a blockbuster encounter after the Australian Open final. Federer has never beaten Nadal three consecutive times so he will have to make history to make the quarterfinals.

And hopefully, Djokovic waits for the winner. It has been too long since the last time Djokovic met one of these two(Nadal in Rome 2016) for my liking. I am disappointed with the draw in the end but I am looking forward to the tournament nonetheless.

At least for Djokovic, if he can’t make good with this ridiculous draw there is still Miami where he’s won six titles and which is just the following week.

Who will come through the bottom quarter?

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Posted in Indian Wells, Masters 1000.


  1. Dude they had a freaking livestream showing people coming up one by one taking the medals out to complete the draw you can’t just say it’s “suspicious” because of the way it ended up. This draw doesn’t favour any of the big 3. It doesn’t make sense for the tournament to “rig” this draw in this way anyway, to have only 1 of the big 3 in the semis is a huge bummer since less blockbuster finals = less crowds = less revenue

    Federer drew Nadal in his half in 5/7 masters he played in 2015, should I call it rigged? He also drew Murray in his half (when possible, i.e. they were top two seeds in Madrid) 3/5 times in masters that year, as well as 3/4 in GS, is there some sort of conspiracy now? No there isn’t. For one thing the sample size isn’t big enough statistically speaking, and secondly it’s the distribution of seeds that should be checked rather than names, since the system recognises the numbers not names when making the draw. In every GS the seeds are picked out manually and everything is live streamed, are you telling me the people are some sort of a magician that will draw the big names close to each other?

    Another thing I want to point out is that you say Federer has the easiest draws but in that list of stats it says Fed is second at the bottom??


    Ru-an Reply:

    Again, it has nothing to do with Federer and Nadal being in Djokovic’s draw(that’s a blessing). It’s about Del Potro and to a lesser extent Kyrgios. Anyway, I don’t know how they do the draws but the stats can’t be denied.

    Whether they rig the draws or not Djokovic gets the toughest draws and Federer the easiest. And it is funny how that works given that Federer is the ATP’s cash cow.


  2. Here are my thoughts.
    1) Novak’s Quarter is the toughest ever I’ve personally seen. Predicting the winner of this section is impossible for me at the moment. May the best man win.
    2) The players in this quarter can only blame themselves. Nadal and Roger are usually ranked higher in their careers and their ranking slip has caused some unfortunate, depends how you look at it, early match ups. Roger easily could have been ranked #7 this week but he lost early in dubai. Nadal could be ranked better if he didn’t play so bad the past few years. Novak wouldn’t have this problem if he would of kept the #1 ranking.
    3) Which brings me to Andy Murray’s draw. If he doesn’t win this quarter then something is wrong. Don’t get me wrong I respect Tsonga but murray should beat him. If his fans want to put Andy in the conversation with the other three then Andy needs to show it. He needs to dominate the rest of the year. Each of the other three members of the big four have a year where they won three majors and dominated. Heck, Roger and Novak have multiple years where they did this. So no more excuses. Andy you need to dominate this year. Novak’s struggling, Roger and Rafa aren’t consistent at the moment. No more excuses.
    4) As far as the notion that Novak has the hardest draws and Roger has the easiest, I’ll buy it but i really would like someone to put out the statistics when all four were playing. Roger had years of playing with no other member of the big four playing (He can’t play himself). Then he only had nadal for a while. So I really would like to see the statistics when they all started playing. Just to see if there is a major difference.
    5) Now i know that Novak isn’t as big a draw as Roger and Rafa but they are the only ones that bring in more people. The notion that the tournament would put them in the same quarter on purpose is a reach. I personally wouldn’t do it. The goal of every big tournament is to have a final with two big names as well as good early match ups. So it would be beneficial to spread out the big four to increase the likely hood that they play in semi finals and finals. But i understand where you are coming from. It’s not just because Roger and Rafa are in Novak’s quarter it’s the fact that novak could play Del Potro, Zverev or Krygios on top of that. Like i said earlier they only have themselves too blame. Roger, Rafa and Novak allowed this to be a possibility. Should be fun to watch.


    Ru-an Reply:

    The suspicion has nothing to do with getting Federer and Nadal, Sttyre. It’s getting Del Potro and to some extent, Kyrgios is consecutive rounds in consecutive tournaments.


  3. Wow fantastic stats Ru-an. I am a Fed fan but TOTALLY agree the tournament organizers are biased when doing the draw. They are trying to sell tickets and turn a profit. Why wouldn’t they? As you said this is how the world works – politics, business etc. There isn’t a doubt in my mind. Ru-an you are bang on with this.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Danielle. I agree it’s great stats which a Nole fan on twitter made.


  4. I saw somewhere ‘after Acapulco the draw for IW can’t be as bad’. Well now we know it can in fact be worse. I am not in the least bit surprised to see Delpo and Kyrgios in Novak’s quarter. Disgusted, but not surprised. After Acapulco I thought this would happen. (Remember Verdasco at the AO after Doha?) With 5 GS players in the bottom half and 2 in the top, not to mention the danger guys such as Delpo, Kyrgios, Sascha Zverez, and to a slightly lesser extent Dimitrov, Querry, Verdasco and Sock, has there ever been a more unbalanced draw than this? The headline on the ATP site of course makes it all about ‘poor baby’ Federer getting ‘the hardest draw in history’, but it seems blindingly obvious that somebody wants to make sure that Murray stays at no 1 and Novak goes out and further down as quickly as possible. This is now so blatant that it is beyond a joke. OK, tough draws go with the territory, especially for Novak over the years as we now see, but this?? I don’t really have anything against Murray, but there is nobody in his half that he shouldn’t be able to beat. Notice that the one person to beat him recently, Mischa Zverez, is miles away and quite likely to be beaten by Thiem in the early stages. I want to believe in tennis – that it’s all fair and above board and random, but looking at this, it just isn’t possible any more. The only tiny crumb of comfort is that we can’t get another Fed/Rafa final. Not this time anyway. This all leaves a sour taste in the mouth and I will not be looking forward to the rest of the year very much if this is going to happen every time.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Well, apparently the names are being pulled out of a hat in which case it can’t be rigged and I am not the kind to go into conspiracy theories because I don’t like the draws of my favorite. But what we can say with certainty is that Djokovic gets the toughest draws and Federer the easiest which is strange give that Federer is the ATP cash cow.


  5. I don’t normally go for conspiracy theories either – you get a tough draw, tough luck. It’s sport, and normally balances out over time you would hope. But this strikes me as a bit too strange to be random. Not a thing in the world we can do about it anyway, but it does IMO make it less enjoyable when you suspect that events are being manipulated, whoever you support. Not everybody’s viewpoint, but personally I feel that as a viewer and fan I am having the mickey taken out of me and am considered too stupid to notice. I feel as though I am being fed a likely sequence of events that has been set up with a certain result in mind, with less of the element of chance and possibilities that makes the game so compelling when the top talent is spread more fairly. I imagine there’s a bit of manipulation going on all the time, as shown by the stats, and we accept that. Sport is a business after all, I get that. But this seems too obvious to be a complete accident. Just my personal opinion though, and obviously no point in going on about it, as it is what it is.


  6. Djokovic won’t even play Kyrigos because Zverev is gonna take him out in a must watch young player ego fest 😂 Silent ego vs Loud ego. This draw is atrocious though. 6 guys who have won or will win a masters in one quarter? Sickening


  7. Hey Ruan,

    Just to make sure you understand that if we want to calculate the ‘draw toughness’ based on the metrics given by that Nole fan on twitter (which has fundamental flaws IMHO), Federer’s draw in Indian Wells should be considered tougher than Djokovic’s by a good distance:

    Federer has to beat projected opponents with seeds 24, 5, 2, 4 and 1 to win the whole thing which makes an average of 7.20, while for Djokovic it would be 31, 15, 9, 4 and 1 averaging 12.

    I think you’ll see a couple of flaws already:
    – Johnson is considered a tougher opponent than Del Potro!
    – The fact that Djokovic has now a better ranking than Federer, works against him on ‘draw toughness average’! I hope its now evident that this system works mostly against Federer as he had been on top for a record 302 weeks, 79 weeks more than Djokovic. For all those weeks, he couldn’t have played seed 1 to improve his ‘draw toughness average’!

    Also the probability of getting Del Potro in consecutive tournaments is equal to getting Del Potro in Acapulco then Cuevas or Ramos-Vinolas or whoever else for that matter in Indian Wells. This is because the two events (draws at Acapulco and Indian Wells) are independent of each other, which means the probability that one event occurs in no way affects the probability of the other event occurring. Its like you say its very odd and suspicious that I rolled a dice twice and got two 6. We know that the probability of getting two consecutive 6 is 1/36 just like the probability of getting any other couple of numbers.

    I want to add that what I said above doesn’t mean necessarily that ATP and tournament directors don’t manipulate the draws. They might cheat or they might not. The point is to show the facts provided in your article has nothing to prove and are flawed in many respects (a few of them explained here).

    Hope we see more real tennis insight from you on this blog, rather than ungrounded statistics analysis and probability fallacies.



    Ru-an Reply:

    No, Federer’s draw should not be considered harder than Djokovic’s. Djokovic has to beat 46, 31, 15, 5(I see what you did there), 4, and 1 averaging 17. Federer has to beat 81, 24, 5, 2, 4, and 1 averaging 19.5!

    Also, Del Potro is much better than Johnson and Djokovic’s ranking works against him in draw toughness(this you got right at least). Yes, Federer’s #1 ranking worked against him but that doesn’t explain why Djokovic had the hardest draws and Federer the easiest.

    Djokovic was longer #1 than Nadal. Why didn’t he have easier draws than Nadal? Aso, how does your theory explain that Djokovic played way more matches against big 4, top 5, top 10, and top 20 players? And why does he have better records against these players?

    The probably of throwing a dice and getting 6 twice is not the same as getting Del Potro twice in a draw. The one has six possibilities the other have much more.

    Please think a little before making a comment next time.


  8. And again as I hava said before under different posts here the ATP heads or whoever is/are the highest ranking persons in this sport or directors of largest sponsors of the game are following a brutal plan for years to stop Jokovic become the GOAT.
    They don’t like eastern european to be the symbol of this sport future generation of players will set stansards of performance about. He might need to learn 20 mire languages but still will not be accepted.
    Follow his streaks without slams after 2011 and you will see what kind of opponents in successive order or early in tournamwnts he used to have. Remember what a tough semifinal with…Del potro he had before Murray’s first Wimbledon. How about the Olympics’ draw with….Del Potro. How about the extremely unlikely phenomenol hitting from Istomnin?
    The stpped him from using the “space egg” years ago but ler everyone else dope. No wonder he is surrounded by spiritual mentor and more often than ever he states tennis is no longer a priority. He knows himself he has been stoped aalready from becommung the goat sowhat has left is to enjoy playing toughest tennis draws until he gets older and no rigging is needed anymore.
    Just hava a look of articles in google abour rigged djoko and fed draws alone. Stariatically speakinf chances of randomnesss is nor existant.
    If you guys watch european soccer what happened on Barca-PSG (6:1) is the same as what happpens in tenis, politics….everywhere in life nowadays as Ruan already said.


  9. I guess the question becomes, what makes the perfect draw? Should be random, based on rankings, perceived skill level, or name recognition? I have to assume no matter the process someone will be unhappy so the tournament is focused on profits and viewership – to meet their own goals.


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