Andy Murray recently gave his thoughts on the absence of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells. Nadal and Federer have both ended their 2021 season due to injuries, while Djokovic pulled out of the tournament weeks after his defeat in the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev.
Murray, along with Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, are considered the 'Big 4' of men's tennis due to the way they have collectively dominated the sport over the past couple of decades.
Murray has won only three Major titles in his career, but he is the only player outside the legendary trio to end a year at the top of the ATP rankings, doing so in 2016. He also has 14 Masters 1000 titles to his name, putting him fifth on the all-time leaderboard. The Scot has also racked up 29 tour-level wins against the trio.
Speaking before the start of his campaign in Indian Wells, Murray, who has had his own battle with injuries the past couple of seasons, said he would not have expected to be the only one of the Big 4 to be present in the Californian desert this year.
"It's unfortunate with Rafa and Roger being injured, and I think Novak, probably rightfully, is taking a break after the run that he's had this year and just missing out at the US Open," Murray said.
"But I'm happy myself to be here. It's a shame for the tournament that they (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic) are not here," he added. "Certainly a couple of years ago, I wouldn't have expected to be the only one playing."
Murray added that with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic getting older, it is not a surprise to see them miss certain events.
"Yeah, I mean, obviously with everyone getting older, there's going to be times where those guys are missing, missing events," the 34-year-old added. "I've obviously had my fair share of misses the last few years, like we were saying, [it's been] four years since I've last been here."
Murray will take on Adrian Mannarino in the first round at Indian Wells. If he comes through that match, he will face Carlos Alcaraz in the second round ahead of a potential third-round meeting with Olympic champion Alexander Zverev.
Indian Wells without any of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic for the first time since 2000
Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic have dominated the tour for around two decades now. The trio have won a combined 60 Grand Slam titles and 100 Masters 1000 crowns among them.
A testament to their longevity is the fact that this edition of BNP Paribas Open is the first since 2000 to feature none of the 'Big Three.'
Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have excellent records at Indian Wells. The Serb has won the event five times out of six finals, with his most recent victory coming in 2016.
Federer has also won five titles in the Californian desert, featuring in the title clash in five of the last six editions of the tournament.
Nadal has won Indian Wells thrice, reaching at least the semifinals every single year between 2006 and 2013.