'Rafael Nadal came up to me in the middle of the game and asked...', says top coach

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'Rafael Nadal came up to me in the middle of the game and asked...', says top coach

The ATP Tour returns to Indian Wells for the penultimate ATP Masters 1000 event of the season at the BNP Paribas Open. In the absence of the last five champions, the ranking favorites arrive with little previous success in the desert.

Following its cancellation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was rescheduled this year to take place in October. The top two seeds are Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas and both are competing for their first trophy at Indian Wells.

The FedEx ATP Race A Turin heats up in the California desert with a series of contenders desperate to strengthen their claim for a spot in the Nitto ATP Finals. ATPTour.com looks at 10 things to watch this week in Indian Wells.

1) Medvedev, full of confidence: Immediately after the biggest title of his career at the US Open and subsequent team success in the Laver Cup, the Russian looks to maintain his momentum on American soil and claim his second Masters 1000 trophy of the season .

The world No. 2, who defeated Reilly Opelka for the Masters 1000 trophy in Toronto, has also won titles in Marseille and Mallorca. He will attempt to add another at Indian Wells as the top seed, where he will attempt to build on a modest 3-3 record at the pageant.

Over the past two decades, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have transformed the game and taken it to a whole new dimension. They all have such different styles of play, but somehow manage to consistently execute some of the best tennis ever played.

Uncle Toni speaks about Nadal

Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal's uncle and ex-coach, recently spoke at length about his nephew, the Big 3, the Next Gen and tennis in general on a Spanish podcast. And in one section of the interview, Toni tried to explain why Novak Djokovic isn't as popular among the fans as his two big rivals.

"It hurt him to finally arrive on the circuit when there was already a very strong rivalry between Roger and Rafa," Toni said. "Federer and Nadal, they were two opposing styles, two different trajectories, and that made the fans very excited.

It was therefore difficult to find a place at that time." Toni further recalled a moment from the final of the 2010 US Open, when his nephew came up to him for some advice in the middle of the match. "I remember in the US Open 2010 Rafa came up to me in the middle of the game and asked me what to do," Toni said.

"I instructed him to play hard and deep to the center, and only change directions when he had a very advantageous position. But inside, I was thinking that we were only left to pray because this guy was being better than Rafa."