Can Roger Federer complete another Sunshine Double in 2018?
Heading into Indian Wells with an excellent 12-0 record and a No. 1 ranking, Roger Federer is almost unstoppable.
At the pinnacle of his form, the Swiss Legend eyes another piece of glory in the Californian Desert in the Indian Wells. Eyeing a staggering sixth title at the Masters 1000 event, the World No. 1 will most certainly look to defend his crown and also possibly go on to win The Miami Masters and register a consecutive Sunshine Double.
With 27 ATP Masters Titles, Federer is third on the list of the most Masters singles titles, just three shy of the joint tally of the Spanish great Rafael Nadal and the Serbian Novak Djokovic at 30. It cannot be ruled out that the Swiss, who is in ominous form at present, can drive up to usurp and top the list in the coming days.
Like they say, passion drives one to push limits and script history. It is this passion for tennis that brings out the best from the 36-year-old Roger Federer whose forte it is to defy time and odds to reach the zenith. Indulging fans with his crafty movements on the court, the Swiss maestro and his charisma knows no boundaries.
It has been a gigantic resurgence for the Swiss Great ever since the Australian Open 2017 triumph, one of the unlikeliest wins ever. More so, as he was coming from a six-month injury hiatus and when most of the naysayers had already written him off.
Having not won a Major since Wimbledon 2012 and not beaten arch-rival Rafael Nadal in a Grand Slam Final since 2007 Wimbledon, that fifth title in Melbourne last year set the perfect alley for Federer to embark on a winning journey that he still has not alighted from.
Beginning this season with the Hopman Cup and a 4-0 in singles matches, the Swiss star cruised through the Opening Slam in Melbourne without dropping a set until Marin Cilic stretched him to five sets. Elevating his game when most needed, Federer edged past the 29-year-old Croatian and lifted his sixth Australian Open trophy and an elusive 20th Grand Slam title.
Like Federer said, "The dream run continues for me, my family and fans", and we simply sit back awestruck while watching the teary-eyed, humble legend acknowledge his fans and family for backing him on this golden journey.
With injuries grappling most of the top stars, a deserted field at the BNP Paribas Open should give Federer the edge, not that we doubt it even if it were with the top contenders battling it out for the honours.
Going with the rankings, World No 2 Nadal's absence due to a hip injury will be conspicuous at the first Masters event of the season. Slipping down due to injuries has been a chunk of the Spaniard's storied career. Retiring or forced to withdraw from eight tournaments in a row, Nadal's injury woes have been relentless.
Stanislas Wawrinka has also pulled out due to knee issues. The 32-year-old has had his struggles since the first round exit from Wimbledon last June and was forced to stay away from action for almost half of the season. Forced to retire in Marseille, the Swiss star revealed that he would not play both the Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami.
Novak Djokovic is also not very sure about competing following his post-Australian Open elbow surgery. Even if he does compete, there is little possibility that he could go deep or make a dramatic effect both at the Indian Wells or at Crandon Park.
World No 7 David Goffin is also nursing an eye injury that he caught in Rotterdam. Forced to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open, the field is indeed depleted.
So who will pose competition to the resurging Roger Federer? Here we take a look at some of the tars who just might.