Two weeks ago, the ATP revealed in the tennis betting news that prize money for the BNP Paribas Open has increased to just over $5m for the first time, meaning that, while prestige is on the line at Indian Wells, there is also a lot of cash to play for.
The elite players in tennis will descend upon the tournament this March, with tennis fans expecting fierce competition under the Californian sun.
Last year’s champion – Roger Federer – is on course to challenge once again after impressing in the early stages in Dubai, following a semi-final berth at the Australian Open – his 33rd Grand Slam semi in his illustrious career.
Federer’s defeated opponent last year, John Isner, is in awful form and should not be backed to progress past the fourth round, nor should 2008 runner-up, Mardy Fish, after a six-month absence through injury.
Novak Djokovic is in imperious form as usual, after claiming his third straight Melbourne crown in January, and is well rested ahead of the tournament, while Andy Murray should make the final if he avoids his Serbian adversary when the draw is made next week. Those who normally bet on Andy Murray should keep a close eye on this.
One man that could provide the upset of the year, however, is Rafael Nadal – a name one would usually never associate with the word ‘upset’. Since Nadal’s recovery from knee injuries over 2012, he has reached one final, won another, and is on course for success in Mexico this weekend.
Having played all his 2013 tennis on the South American clay courts, Nadal will feel the strain of California’s hard surface but is building his strength week-on-week and should make the quarters at least this March.
Ranked fifth means a quarterfinal tie with one of the top four is almost inevitable, but Nadal has both ability and confidence on his side and will want to prove he is not the finished article this spring.
The Spaniard can make the semis, despite his low regard in the betting world, and has a great chance of earning a slice of that $5m Indian Wells jackpot.
This article written by guest writer Joe Short.