The Californian hard-courts will be inflamed under the heat of the sun, and under the racket blows of all the protagonists engaged in the combined ATP / WTA of Indian Wells. This is the first ATP Masters 1000 and the first WTA Premier Mandatory of the season.
The men's draw will be led by Novak Djokovic. The Serb is the favorite for the final victory. Nole has not played since the Melbourne final, and at Indian Wells he could meet opponents like Nick Kyrgios in the third round, then Gael Monfils, Dominic Thiem and, in the quarterfinals, one between Kevin Anderson and Alexander Zverev.
In the bottom-half, possible semi-final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the other two favorites for the title. Federer could face Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori in his path, while on the side of Nadal there are John Isner, Tomas Berdych, Karen Khachanov e Daniil Medvedev.
The women's draw, led by Naomi Osaka, sees an interesting possible second round between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. For Osaka, possible fourth round with Caroline Wozniacki, quarter-final with Karoline Pliskova and semi-final with one between Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova.
An easier path for Simona Halep, who could find Serena in the semi-finals. Indian Wells Masters 1000 sees Novak Djokovic as a favorite, but watch out for Nadal; the Spaniard's draw is less complicated than that of his rivals, and he could preserve important energies for the final rounds.
Federer will have a more complicated path, but the fast surface and the recent victory in Dubai can give him enthusiasm and desire to keep winning. Difficult for Zverev, also conditioned by a very complex draw. Beware of Gael Monfils: he could be the outsider.
The WTA Premier Mandatory could see Simina Halep or Serena Williams as favorites, along Naomi Osaka. The first two are both in the bottom-half, in a less complex area than Osaka, Kvitova and Kerber. Mental solidity is the best weapon of the Japanese, but her draw is very challenging.
As always, then, if Serena Williams will play at least at 80-90% of her psycho-physical condition, then the US could win even with only one arm, despite the advancing age. Sofia Kenin, Amanda Anisimova and Belinda Bencic are the possible ousiders.
INDIAN WELLS 2019 - PERCENTAGES: ATP Masters 1000: Novak Djokovic 40% Rafael Nadal 35% Roger Federer 25% Outsiders: Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gael Monfils WTA Premier Mandatory: Simona Halep 35% Naomi Osaka 35% Serena Williams 30% Outsiders: Sofia Kenin, Amanda Anisimova, Belinda Bencica