Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic pulls out of Indian Wells 2023 - Who could benefit?
- Novak Djokovic will miss the Indian Wells ATP 2023
- The tournament confirmed the Serbian’s withdrawal
- Who will benefit from the absence of the World No. 1
Novak Djokovic misses Indian Wells (Getty Images)
The 2023 Australian Open winner and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will miss the Indian Wells ATP 2023 after the tournament confirmed the Serbian’s withdrawal via their official Twitter handle.
The Indian Wells Open, also known as the BNP Paribas Open, is the ATP’s first Masters event of the season. With 1000 points at stake, the main draw of the competition will commence without two big names - Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Who will benefit from the absence of Djokovic, who was set to be the favourite for the title in Indian Wells?
Djokovic & Nadal Miss Indian Wells
While Nadal is missing this major tournament due to an injury, Djokovic has reportedly failed to get approval for his Covid-19 vaccine waiver.
The World No. 1 could not play in the Australian Open last year due to the same reason as he was sent packing before the main draw of the Grand Slam commenced last year. He also missed the US swing of the 2022 season.
However, this year, the Serbian played and won the first Grand Slam of the calendar year in Australia and reclaimed the top spot in the ATP Rankings.
Indian Wells Contenders
The absence of Djokovic from Indian Wells has upset his fans, but it has thrown the Masters title race wide open in California.
The two young rivals of Djokovic - Carlos Alcaraz and Stefano Tsitsipas are hot at the heels of the 22-time Grand Slam champion.
With Djokovic out of the picture, Alcaraz has an opportunity to move back into the World Number 1 spot if he wins the tournament.
If the Spaniard faces an upset, Tsitsipas could move up one place into second and be within touching distance of Djokovic.
Alcaraz entered the new ATP season as the World Number 1 but dropped to second at the end of January as Djokovic touched the summit.
So far this season, the Spaniard has won one ATP 250 tournament and finished as the runner-up in one. The current World Number 2 was up against Cameron Norrie in both finals.
Alcaraz beat Norrie 6-3, 7-5 in the final of Buenos Aires ATP in Argentina before losing 7-5, 4-6, 5-7 to him in the Rio Open towards the end of February. However, Alcaraz was struggling with a niggle in that final.
Current World Number 3, Tsitsipas made an impressive start to the new season as he went all the way to the final of the opening Grand Slam event of the season in Australia, where he lost to Djokovic in straight sets 6-3, 7-6. 7-6.
The Rotterdam Open was a massive disappointment as the 24-year-old lost against Jannik Sinner 6-4 6-3 in straight sets in the round of 16.
Both competitors are hungry for a win in the opening stages of the new season and with the fierce World Number 1 missing from the tournament, the chances of winning are higher than usual.
However, the main draw is extremely competitive, boasting players like last year’s Indian Wells Masters winner, Taylor Fritz, and Mexican Open 2023 winner Alex De Minaur.
Who will capitalise and take the crown in California this season?
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