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Indian Wells BNP Paribas ATP draw: Djokovic in it (for now), Medvedev and Nadal in top half

Daniil Medvedev could collide with Rafael Nadal for a third time this season. EPA-EFE/David Guzman

By Ricky Dimon

Despite currently being unable to enter the United States as an unvaccinated foreigner with the 2022 BNP Paribas Open about to begin, Novak Djokovic found himself in the draw on Tuesday afternoon.

“Novak Djokovic is on the tournament entry list, and therefore is placed into the draw today,” the tournament stated immediately after Djokovic’s name showed up at the bottom of the bracket and before the draw ceremony had even concluded. “We are currently in communication with his team; however, it has not been determined if he will participate in the event by getting CDC approval to enter the country. We will provide updates in the future as we learn more.”

Assuming the second-ranked Serb is unable to play, he will be replaced by a lucky loser (Djokovic’s spot may not be taken directly by the lucky loser, as the draw could be shuffled considerably if he officially withdraws prior to the first order of play being made). That would leave Andrey Rublev as the highest-ranked player in the fourth section of the bracket. Djokovic’s exit would open the door not only for Rublev but also for Hubert Hurakcz, Diego Schwartzman, Aslan Karatsev, John Isner, and/or Andy Murray. Currently a potential third-round opponent for Djokovic, Murray could be one of the early beneficiaries of the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s ouster.

Another embattled player is also part of the draw’s bottom half. Alexander Zverev was kicked out of last month’s event in Acapulco for swinging his racket in anger dangerously close to a chair umpire, but he avoided suspension from the ATP can can therefore play in Indian Wells.

Rafael Nadal enters Indian Wells undefeated in 2022. EPA-EFE/David Guzman

Zverev is in a quarter that also includes Matteo Berrettini, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Pablo Carreno Busta, Taylor Fritz, and Marin Cilic. Given the German’s current struggles both on and off the court combined with the fine form of Auger-Aliassime, Fritz, and Cilic, Zverev may not be long for the desert. In fact, even his opening match could be a rough one–against either Grigor Dimitrov or Tommy Paul.

On the other side of the draw are world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev and reigning Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal. They could be in line for a semifinal rematch of their epic Aussie Open final, in which Nadal came back from two sets down and 2-3, 0-40 in the third to triumph after five hours and 24 minutes. Although the 21-time major winner leads the head-to-head series 5-1, the majority of their matches have been final-set thrillers–making it one of the tour’s best rivalries at present.

Of course, there is a long way to go before we get Medvedev-Nadal part seven. Medvedev could run into a red-hot Carlos Alcaraz in the fourth round and arch rival Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals. Nadal’s possible path features Sebastian Korda (R2), Dan Evans (R3), Denis Shapovalov (R4), and either Casper Ruud or Jannik Sinner (QF).

The men’s main draw begins on Thursday.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.