Hi folks. It’s good to be back in South Africa after a stressful time in Thailand. And of course it is time for one of the big tournaments of the year in Indian Wells. The draw is out and the first thing I was looking for was in whose half Nadal is, and he is in Roger’s half as I hoped for. But there is a long way to go before a Fedal semi-final becomes possible. Both Roger and Nadal have some very difficult opponents to deal with before the semis. Roger’s road to the title is Janowicz, Seppi, Mayer/Bautista Agut, Wawrinka/Berdych, Nadal/Raonic, Djokovic. The first three matches are OK but then it gets tough. Janowicz can potentially be a tricky first round with his big game as well. Then Roger is likely to meet Seppi who of course he lost to in Melbourne.
So there will be a good chance for revenge. If Roger passes that test then he will play Mayer or Bautista Agut who are good players in their own right. There are really no easy matches in these Masters events which is why I said I would get excited if Roger wins it. Last year Roger lost to Djokovic in a third set tie break and came ever so close to winning a fifth Indian Wells title. But judging from Dubai at least Roger is in better form this year. He defeated Djokovic in straight sets in the final there as opposed to needing three sets to do so last year, and he just looked slightly sharper overall. So judging from Dubai Roger could well go a step further this year and win Indian Wells. A fifth Indian Wells title would be another terrific achievement by this phenomenal player, but of course there is a long way to go.
Even if Roger makes it to the final and faces Djokovic there again then the courts are more favorable for Djokovic in Indian Wells and he will be very hungry to avenge the Dubai loss. But for that to happen Roger have two more very difficult matches to get through against Wawrinka or Berdych and Nadal or Raonic, or even Dimitrov. Speaking of Dimitrov Roger played an exho against him yesterday in New York which again I’m not so sure if it was a good idea. Roger loves tennis and to do trick shots so I’m sure he enjoys these matches, but it is quite a way to travel from the Californian desert and he also lost to Dimitrov. It is just an exho but it gives Dimitrov his first win over Roger so he gets a taste of what it is like.
Now he will feel more confident about his chances the next time they meet. There was also the excuse after Roger lost in the third round in Melbourne that he was tired, and if that is true then all the exhos he played would not have helped in that regard. I don’t think Roger was tired but personally I couldn’t care less about exhos. I have never watched them and I’m not sure why Roger is playing so many of them. Maybe he is just following Edberg’s advice and trying to stay match fit, but then I don’t see what good it would do to lose to Dimitrov. Anyway it’s his business and I doubt it will affect his performance in Indian Wells negatively. We will see. To get back to quarters and semis, if Roger gets that far we all know the danger Stan or Berdych can pose.
Raonic probably won’t be too much of a threat on these courts but Nadal certainly could be. Nadal comes off the title in Buenos Aires but this is hard court and he still has some way to go before he hits top form, if he ever will again. His draw looks pretty favorable to make quarters at least but Dimitrov or Raonic won’t be an easy opponent for him. I hope he makes semis though because you’d like Roger’s chances at this point. And it’s been too long since we’ve had a Fedal match. But mostly I am just looking forward to see Roger back in action and to watch the most important Masters event of the year on a stable stream and in a relaxed atmosphere.
How about you?