Indian Wells is played in March, but the sight of its sun-baked surroundings always makes it feel as if a new tennis year is upon us. The BNP Paribas Open marks the start of a sprint that, between now and early July, takes the pros across the Atlantic and through two Grand Slams and five Masters events.
Looking at the men’s draw, though, “new” isn’t the first word that comes to mind. A quick scan down the seeding list at this year’s event is enough to make it feel like old times on the ATP tour. The Big 4 occupies the top four slots, something that hasn’t happened often, if at all, at a significant tournament over the last few seasons. This March, the men’s game is less about madness than it is about order. We’ll see if it stays that way when racquets start swinging in earnest on Thursday.