ATP TENNIS: The Indian Wells or BNP Paribas Open gets underway on Wednesday and is set to light up the tennis schedule the way that the traditional Californian sunlight always does. We preview the action below and take a look at the early favourites.

Taylor Fritz – 2022 Champion

The last winner of the tournament, Taylor Fritz, represents his home nation and home state in California and will believe that he has the ability to retain his title. He has enjoyed an emphatic start to the 2023 season which has already seen him claim his fifth career trophy.

Taking the trophy at the Delray Beach Open at the end of February, Fritz made amends for his relatively poor performance at the Australian Open that saw him knocked out in the second round, and proved again why he is considered to be one of the best performing players on this surface.

He is now up to fifth in the ATP rankings and looked every bit a top five player when he stormed to victory in Florida, only dropping one set on his way to victory. Comfortably winning titles is not a new thing for Fritz but he is a player that for periods of the season looks to be unbeatable with his superior physicality, speed around the court and ability to stay in rallies against the hardest hitters.

It looks as if he has entered his phase of flow with his title win and is beginning to get into his groove. While he isn’t an immediate frontrunner, he is one to keep a keen eye on in California.


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Carlos Alcaraz – BETDAQ favourite

There is still so much to be said about Carlos Alcaraz. He is still relatively new to the professional tennis scene – only turning pro in 2018 at the age of 14 – and he has already broken the record for the youngest men’s world number one of all time, winning a Grand Slam tournament, in the process.

Alcaraz was victorious at the US Open after an incredible ending to the tournament that saw the young Spaniard win three five setters in a row before the final, in which he came through to win comfortably.

Since then, he was unlucky that an injury forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open where he would have surely been the favourite for victory, but he recovered and looked to be rediscovering his winning form, making it the final of the Rio de Janeiro Open where he lost to Cameron Norrie after picking up a fresh injury.

If Alcaraz is able to recover in time for this tournament he will be the clear favourite; his ability to make it a tournament final only weeks after returning from injury highlighting just how good he is. This young man is something special, and special players turn up in big tournaments.

Stefanos Tsitsipas – The upsetter

Stefanos Tsitsipas has had a great career so far and looked to be whiskers away from claiming his first Grand Slam title after he was beaten in the final of the Australian Open by Novak Djokovic earlier this year.

It has been mentioned before that Tsitsipas, as an established top five player, has failed to really show up on the biggest stages. If Australia was anything to go by, he is surely edging closer to changing that and his world ranking of number three can’t be argued with no matter what his results are.

He is one of the only players that can truly challenge Novak Djokovic in a rally and while he still has a way to go if he is to defeat him, not every player is Djokovic and Djokovic isn’t in California to stop Tsitsipas this time.

Tsitsipas should challenge every player at this tournament, and he looks to be as consistent as any in the world at the moment. Crucially, the pressure of a tournament of this size might not get to him in the same way after playing the Australian Open final only weeks ago.


Holger Rune – The dark horse

Another player that is bursting onto the scene with force. Still below the age of 20, Holger Rune is on the right track for a great career and is under no pressure to perform here with years left to lay his legacy.

Rune is becoming a fantastically well-rounded player with power, speed, aggression and intelligence as well as composure to hold his own in high pressured games, though the latter will need honing.

Rune is ranked 10th in the world and has already won three titles in his career and come close to a number of others, a number that will drastically increase as his game matures.

Rune will have a great chance of doing some damage in this tournament, having made it through the first three rounds of the Acapulco Open and still riding high off the back of a great performance in Australia earlier this year that saw him make it to the fourth round.

While he still may just lack the killer instinct in the final stages of a major tournament, he certainly looks set up to develop it and as he gains experience, his talents will really start to show. Watch him closely here as he will offer great returns against most players and could even cause some major upsets.


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