The Serbian has not been seen in competition since January 26, 2024 and a scathing defeat against Jannik Sinner in the semi-final of the Australian Open. The man with 10 crowns in Melbourne had not lost on one of his favorite playgrounds since… 2018. This defeat inevitably left its mark. And the insatiable 37-year-old champion is looking for a rebound and revenge after suffering three defeats in four face-to-face matches against Sinner, the best player in the world over the last three months. And generally when the “Djoker” suffers a failure, he (re)wins immediately. After his defeat at Wimbledon last year, the holder of the greatest number of Grand Slam titles (24) for example had 19 consecutive successes on the circuit with titles gleaned at the US Open, Cincinnati and Bercy. In Masters 1000, he has won everything or almost everything for several months since he remains on two coronations in Cincinnati and Paris in this tournament category. Co-owner of the number of successes in the Californian desert (5 with Roger Federer), he has however not triumphed in Indian Wells since 2016. And his last match in the Coachella Valley dates back to 2019 and a defeat against Philipp Kohlschreiber in the 3rd round (6-4, 6-4). His choice not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 caused him to miss the last two editions…

Twenty years after his first participation Rafael Nadal returns to the Californian sun. Finalist in 2022, he missed the 2023 edition due to his hip injury. After almost a year of absence, he returned to competition in Brisbane in January where he contracted a muscle injury, before withdrawing from the Australian Open. A false start for the former world number 1 who could put his rackets away this year. At the end of the exhibition match against his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday, Nadal felt physically reassured. “The level of tennis is one thing, the ghost of injuries is another,” however, declared the battered 37-year-old champion lucidly. The man with 22 Grand Slam titles has not won at Indian Wells… since 2013. But the main thing is clearly elsewhere. The king of Roland-Garros especially hopes to start the season on beloved clay without its recurring physical glitches. Wishful thinking? “It’s going to be tough and probably Indian Wells will be a tough tournament. I wasn’t able to prepare as I hoped. I had to give up on Doha. Then, when the clay court season starts, we’ll see. »

By dominating Daniil Medvedev head and shoulders last year in the final, Carlos Alcaraz won the third Masters 1000 of his career. Since his brilliant coronation at Wimbledon, the Spanish phenomenon has lost a little of his splendor. Eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, he counted on the South American clay court tour to reassure himself. Missed. He stumbled against Nicolas Jarry in the semi-final in Buenos Aires and twisted his ankle in the first round in Rio. An injury of no great consequence since the student of Juan Carlos Ferrero ensures that he progresses without hindrance before defending his title. The fact remains that he does not appear to be the favorite for his own succession. It is the other world tennis phenomenon Jannik Sinner who takes on this role. Winner of the Australian Open, Jannik Sinner, 22, has eclipsed the Murcia phenomenon in recent months. Until when ?

All eyes are primarily on Ugo Humbert. A French leader in great shape. Winner of the ATP 500 in Dubai, his sixth title on the circuit in six contested finals, Messin is in the world top 15 for the first time in his career (14th). He is one of the outsiders in a tournament where he has never gone beyond the 3rd round (in 2023). In constant progress, the 25-year-old left-hander must now also shine in the biggest events. For now, he has never done better than a quarter-final at the Rolex Paris Masters 2020… Behind Humbert, the best French people have hardly shone in recent weeks. The veteran of 35 Adrian Mannarino, out of the top 20, remains with three defeats in his last four matches. Hopeful Arthur Fils won only one match in three tournaments played on earth during the South American tour. Good surprises could come from Arthur Cazaux (provided he gets out of qualifying) or veteran Gaël Monfils. In the women’s table, it is difficult to imagine a performance of choice given the poor form of our best players. Caroline Garcia, who had fallen to 26th place in the world, did not raise her head and Varvara Gracheva was going through a very complicated period, accumulating defeats in the first round and falling to 68th place.

It’s quite a challenge that awaits Elena Rybkina. In the women’s draw, no player has triumphed more than twice consecutively at Indian Wells for more than thirty years. Last year, the Kazakh had the last word against Aryna Sabalenka in an epic final. After winning Brisbane in January, the defending champion suffered a premature elimination at the Australian Open, but bounced back by winning in Abu Dhabi, before surrendering in the final in Qatar against Iga Swiatek. In the game of predictions, the Pole is obviously essential. Just like Sabalenka. The two players have shared five of the last eight Grand Slam tournaments. Beaten last year in the semi-final by Rybakina, the Pole found some color after her premature exit in Melbourne in the 3rd round. Among the favorites, it is difficult not to also mention the American star Coco Gauff, third player in the world. The winner of the last US Open will try to put an end to an incongruity. Since 2001 and the coronation of Serena Williams, no representative of the star-spangled banner has won at home.