The Indian Wells organisers like to refer to the tennis extravaganza in the desert as “The fifth Slam”, Taylor Fritz…
The Indian Wells organisers like to refer to the tennis extravaganza in the desert as “The fifth Slam”, Taylor Fritz is here to defend his 2022 title won in front of his Netflix cameras.
For those who haven’t seen the behind-the-scenes Netflix documentary, “Break Point”, Taylor Fritz was being followed for the series when he went through the pain barrier to beat Rafael Nadal in the final at Indian Wells last year. The American will be trying his best to defend those 1000 ranking points this week.
Indian Wells is the first ATP1000 series event of the season and the first half of the “Sunshine Double” with Miami. Predicted weather conditions for the start of the week look to be refuting that somewhat, but regardless, it is an extremely valuable tournament for the players.
However, the world number one will not be present. Novak Djokovic has had to withdraw from the event on the day before the draw.
The WTA Indian Wells preview and in-depth analysis is also available to be read on site.
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ATP Indian Wells Betting Tips
Event In Focus: ATP Indian Wells
The analysis grid this week doesn’t cover the whole field. The sixteen seeded players are covered alongside other fancied players from outside of the top 16 seedings.
Rankings & 12-month Form
The withdrawal of Novak Djokovic from the draw certainly opens things up in terms of the data analysis. In his wake, Daniil Medvedev becomes the pick of the numbers over the last 12 months. His return of serve data is a clear best above everyone else, perhaps other than Carlos Alcaraz.
The young Spaniard had to withdraw from his previous tournament, scheduled to be in Acapulco last week, and he has concerns over an injury he suffered in Rio de Janeiro the previous week. That makes him a doubt here but on his best form he is a clear threat as his data suggests.
There are a number of other players who sit just under Medvedev and Alcaraz as people who have something going for them. Jannik Sinner’s games won record puts him in world class territory, with Cameron Norrie only just short of that. The Brit has also produced this record over a huge number of matches, proving that it is no fluke. Meanwhile, Yibing Wu has had a great 12 months on the main tour, winning a title last time out in Dallas, becoming the first Chinese player to do so, and this has inflated his win percentage to 79% across his 14 matches so far.
Playing Styles and Players To Avoid
What is interesting about compiling these charts is that they sometimes bear out interesting trends and the way that the players play their tennis.
Hubert Hurkacz has claim to be the best server on tour at the moment. However, he cannot match this with his return game, hence his ranking on the outskirts of the top ten. If he is on a good return day though, the Pole is an exceptionally dangerous player in the draw. Meanwhile, Alex De Minaur is one of the few players at the top of the game who doesn’t manage an 80% serve win rate but he has one of the best return game win percentages in the whole ATP tour.
Potential players who could be vulnerable here include Australian Open semi-finalist Karen Khachanov and US Open semi-finalist Frances Tiafoe. Though both men have clearly shown that they can rise to the big occasion recently on hard courts, they don’t appear to have the consistency over a year to hit the top of the game.
Hard Court & Other Form Data
Taking into account the surface type in Indian Wells we are able to break down the players’ career performance on hard courts on the ATP Tour. These records include qualifying rounds. With the best players in the world here it was worth compiling the players’ recent record against the Top 10, and also their win/loss records in North America, as sometimes players play particularly well in certain conditions.
The three best hard court players across their careers span across the lifespan of a tennis player. Carlos Alcaraz has made a world class start, Daniil Medvedev is in the prime of his career, and Andy Murray’s record still stands up in the twilight of his career.
In terms of other players to watch on hard courts, Alexander Zverev has a good record over a number of years and, again, Cameron Norrie’s career numbers are improving to a very high level. De Minaur should also be considered something of a hard court specialist. Frances Tiafoe’s numbers are surprisingly poor on the surface.
Important Form Points
Casper Ruud, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Matteo Berrettini don’t have great recent form figures.
Karen Khachanov hasn’t had a win vs a Top 10 player in his last ten attempts, and JJ Wolf has never beaten a top ten player in his career so far. Berrettini’s record against the best is poor as well, but Holger Rune and Taylor Fritz have raised their game in the toughest matches so far.
The only significant information from the North American data comes from those with small sample sizes, which makes the information unreliable to read trends from. However, JJ Wolf seems something of a homebird with his data in North America looking much better than abroad.
ATP Indian Wells Draw
Indian Wells has a 32-seed, 96-man draw. The 32 seeds will be given a bye into the second round.
ATP Indian Wells Betting Tips
A much more balanced draw without Novak Djokovic in it. Most of the top seeds will be happy with their draws and there are a lot of potential routes to the latter stages to consider.
Current form would suggest that the only play to make here is Daniil Medvedev, and, indeed, I was getting ready to back and tip him at 3/1. He has been unbeatable recently, but, and it’s a big but, his Indian Wells record is atrocious. Some players just don’t get on with the desert conditions, Andy Murray has never won here for instance, and Medvedev has been top seed in the last two years and lost to Gael Monfils and Grigor Dimitrov before the quarter-final stages. I’m not sure who beats him here, but someone probably will.
Fritz is the defending champion, and though no-one has defended the Indian Wells title since Djokovic in 2016, but you will bet your bottom dollar that the Rancho Santa Fe native will be giving it everything he has to buck that trend.
The number four seed is in the opposite half to Medvedev and, most importantly, is more than double the price of the other high seed in his section, Jannik Sinner. I really like Sinner, maybe more so than Fritz, but the American has walked the walk here before, and has made a semi-final in 2021 as well as his title.
Part of the reason for the price may be because Fritz really struggled physically in Acapulco in the semi-final there. However, I think he’s had enough time to recover from that, and he has been through the pain barrier to win here before as well.
I believe that Norrie is being underrated again. The 2021 Indian Wells champion again has that all important course form. He also comes into this having given himself a much needed week’s break having pulled out of Acapulco, a wise decision given the humidity there and the effect that had on the players that made the final stages there.
Before that Norrie had beaten (an admittedly injured) Carlos Alcaraz in the ATP500 Rio de Janeiro final, having also met the Spaniard in the Buenos Aires final. Norrie had also won his Davis Cup ties in Colombia and reached the Auckland final just before the Australian Open too. In other words, he is in great form.
Whilst no-one would try to convince you that Norrie is the best player in the draw, it will take a really strong performance to beat him. The price is worth a play.