First Serve | 5 Things We Learned in Indian Wells
Two new stars were crowned in the desert as Iga Swiatek and Taylor Fritz lifted the humongous crystal trophy.
Swiatek is sweeping the board
World No. 1? What World No. 1! Ashleigh Barty will find herself with the 20-year-old Pole Iga Swiatek snapping at her heels.
Two back-to-back WTA 1000 titles. 11 matches on the spin. By the time the Aussie comes back to the tour, Swiatek will be solidly in her groove. And with both of them as recent Roland Garros champions, well we can be sure of a nice and competitive clay court season.
Swiatek is the first player since Caroline Wozniacki (2009) to win five or more titles before turning 21. Think about that for a minute. She already has a Slam and has picked up two of the tour’s biggest titles already and we are not even out of March!
One to watch? Yes. Could she do the double? Really cannot see why not!
Now… if only she could lift that monstrous hunk of glass!
Taylor Fritz – fulfilled potential but a long time coming
It could have so easily been all over before it started when an ankle injury in warm up jeopardized Taylor Fritz’s shot at a first Masters 1000 – but somehow it was Fritz who made a thus far Rafael Nadal look pedestrian.
Fritz, still only 24, was yet another American touted as the nation’s next best thing, and seemed to struggle under the weight of that, but he played with a freedom that we rarely see – and for once Nadal had no answer
Fritz bounced up the rankings to World No. 13 – his highest rank, and topples man-mountain Reilly Opelka as the US No. 1. Not a bad week!
Djokovic – the new old Number One
Daniil Medvedev’s reign as a World No. 1 was short lived – and Novak Djokovic (who could not enter the US under their current coronavirus restriction, is back at the top – without hitting a ball in anger, or any other kind of emotion!
Djokovic will aim to be back in action in Monte Carlo.
Rafael Nadal is human after all
It really was an incredible run for the Spaniard, who emerged at the start of the year as the forst of the Big Three to reach 21 Grand Slams. And he just kept going. And Going, But there were issues with his foot and more worryingly his rib which really affected his ability to breath. He made a more competitive match of it in the second set, but a rest seems to be what is needed now – there is a very real chance he could stretch ahead further in his Slam quota, but if we assume he plays Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome before Roland Garros – he will need to recharge.
Carlos Alcaraz is our ATP one to watch
If we are starting with a WTA rising star to watch, we ought to cast our eye on another Spaniard on the scene. In his first meeting against Nadal, he was truly schooled. But this time around, Alcaraz put Nadal through his paces and then some.
Nadal was taken to a decider, and Nadal had nothing but praise for the young NextGen champion.
He has a lot of variety already at a very young age, and dare we say it, a little more versatility on the hard courts than Nadal did.
Two of his three titles are clay court titles though, so it makes this year’s clay court season very exciting.
We will be focusing on Miami over the next two weeks – so expect our daily tips to take you through the best of the action.