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Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Ashleigh Barty: 7 top players who will not compete in Indian Wells this year

Indian Wells will not feature both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic
Indian Wells will not feature both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic
Neelabhra Roy

Indian Wells, popularly known as tennis paradise, will begin next week. The combined ATP and WTA event saw two surprise champions last year in Cameron Norrie and Paula Badosa.

Norrie faced Nikoloz Basilashvili in last year's final in Indian Wells. The Georgian took the opening set 6-3 but Norrie won the next two sets 6-4, 6-1 to win the biggest title of his career so far.

On the other end, Paula Badosa beat Victoria Azarenka in a tightly-contested encounter to win the first WTA 1000 title of her career.

A number of top players will be competing at Indian Wells this year. In the men's tournament, Rafael Nadal is a heavy favorite to win given his recent run of form. However, the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas can also compete for the men's title.

Barbora Krejcikova, Aryna Sabalenka, defending champion Badosa and reigning Qatar Open champion Iga Swiatek all have a shot at the women's title as well.

Indian Wells has a sparser entry list this year

While many top players are participating in 1000 series event in Indian Wells, there are some big names who will not feature in the tournament due to fitness or other reasons. Some of these players are legends of the game and their absence will no doubt be felt.

So without any further ado, let us take a look at the seven players who will not compete in the Indian Wells Masters.

#7. Danielle Collins

Danielle Collins reached the final of the Australian Open this year
Danielle Collins reached the final of the Australian Open this year

The American was ranked 30th in the world when the Australian Open began. However, Collins had a wonderful run at the tournament as she went on to reach the final, defeating 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek in the process. The 28-year-old lost to Ashleigh Barty in the final but not before giving the Australian a tough fight in the second set. Collins reached the Top 10 following her run in Melbourne.

The American next competed in the Dubai Tennis Championships last month but was forced to retire during her first-round match against Marketa Vondrousova due to dizziness. She's cited continuing injuries as the reason for her withdrawal from Indian Wells. She will look to return in time for the Miami Open.

#6. Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem has been out of action for nearly a year now
Dominic Thiem has been out of action for nearly a year now

It's been 10 months since we last saw Dominic Thiem play on a tennis court. The Austrian has been sidelined since retiring from his match against Adrian Mannarino at the Mallorca Championships due to a wrist injury back in June 2021. Thiem skipped the remainder of the 2021 season due to a wrist injury and fell out of the top 10.

Thiem pulled out of this year's ATP Cup and later, the Australian Open. He was set to compete at the Cordoba Open before announcing his withdrawal from the tournament, claiming that he would return to action at Indian Wells.

However, the Austrian announced on Monday that he will be skipping the Indian Wells and Miami Masters to keep himself ready for the clay court season.

Thiem's ranking has dropped to 50 and he will be hoping to rise up the ranks during the clay court season and beyond.

#5. Venus Williams

Venus Williams last played a match in August 2021
Venus Williams last played a match in August 2021

Venus Williams had a disappointing 2021 which she started with a second-round elimination at the Yarra Valley Classic after losing to Petra Kvitova. The American reached the second round of the Australian Open after beating Kirsten Flipkens. However, she lost to Sara Errani.

After this, Venus lost five matches in a row until Wimbledon, where she made her 90th Grand Slam appearance. The former World No.1 beat Mihaela Buzarnescu in the first round before losing to eventual quarterfinalist Ons Jabeur in the second round.

Williams then competed at the Chicago Women's Open and lost to South Korea's Hsieh Su-Wei in the first round. This remains her last bit of action on the tennis court till date.

Williams' ranking has fallen to 470 due to her prolonged inactivity and poor results. It's unclear when she plans to return to action.

#4. Ashleigh Barty

Ashleigh Barty will miss the Indian Wells and Miami Opens
Ashleigh Barty will miss the Indian Wells and Miami Opens

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty could not have asked for a better start to 2022 as she won the Adelaide International 1 before cruising to a maiden Australian Open crown. The 25-year-old thus became the first Australian to win the competition since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

Barty was initially on the entry list for the WTA 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami. However, she announced that she will be missing both competitions as her body hasn't recovered from the Australian Open the way she wanted it to.

Hence, Barty will not be able to defend her title at the Miami Open. However, we will see her back in action at the Billie Jean King Cup in April.

Ashleigh Barty withdraws from Indian Wells and Miami, aims to represent Australia at BJK Cup in April dlvr.it/SL3LsG

#3. Serena Williams

Serena Williams is yet to play a match since Wimbledon last year
Serena Williams is yet to play a match since Wimbledon last year

Like her sister, Serena Williams did not have a particularly memorable 2021. The American's run to the semifinals of the Australian Open was her only notable achievement of the year. She reached the fourth round of the French Open before losing to Elena Rybakina.

Williams was up against Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round of Wimbledon but was forced to retire due to a leg injury sustained during the match. She has been sidelined ever since.

Serena's prolonged absence from the WTA Tour has seen her ranking fall to 236th and she is yet to announce her return to action.

#2. Roger Federer

Roger Federer is yet to play a match since Wimbledon last year
Roger Federer is yet to play a match since Wimbledon last year

Roger Federer had very limited action in 2021 as he was recuperating from his second knee surgery. The Swiss' first Grand Slam appearance last year was at the French Open, where he reached the fourth round before withdrawing to save himself for the grass season.

Federer then suffered a second-round exit at the Halle Open before entering Wimbledon as the sixth seed. The former World No. 1 reached the quarterfinals of the competition before losing to 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz. He hasn't played a match since then.

Federer's ranking has fallen to 27th and said that he won't return to the court until at least late in the summer.

#1. Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic will not compete in the Indian Wells and Miami Masters
Novak Djokovic will not compete in the Indian Wells and Miami Masters

Novak Djokovic is the only player on this list who will not be featuring in the Indian Wells Masters due to reasons other than fitness. Indian Wells requires mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 and the Serb is yet to be vaccinated.

Djokovic could not compete in the Australian Open this year due to his visa being canceled. His first match of the season was at the Dubai Tennis Championships, where he was beaten by Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals.

Djokovic has said that he cannot enter the United States, which means that we will not see him compete at the Indian Wells and Miami Masters.

Asked Novak Djokovic if he will be able to compete at Indian Wells:"As of today, not. I can't go -- can't enter United States. As of today I'm not able to play. But let's see what happens. I mean, maybe things change in the next few weeks."

Edited by Keshav Gopalan

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