What’s the story?
The opening ATP World Tour Masters 1000 of the 2017 season not only has a great line-up in singles but an equally exciting doubles field as well. One of the most intriguing doubles pairs to have gained an entry into the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells that is scheduled to be held from March 6-19, is that of Rafael Nadal and Bernard Tomic.
The unusual pairing has caught everyone’s eyes, especially because this is the very first time that they have teamed up. Since both of them are currently placed outside the top 100 in doubles, the sixth-ranked Nadal and the 31st ranked Tomic used their singles rankings for a combined ranking of 37 that got them the berth.
This partnership came right after Rafa appreciated Tomic’s talent in an interview with The Courier Mail in January. “He’s a big talent and he improved a lot in terms of mentality. He has won important matches and is improving. He’s a charismatic player for the tour. He’s a great guy”, the 14-time Grand Slam champion had said.
In case you didn’t know…
Rafa is an equally accomplished doubles player and has an outstanding record at this prestigious California tournament. The Spaniard, who won the Olympic doubles gold last year, has triumphed in Indian Wells twice – in 2010 and 2012 alongside his friend Marc Lopez.
The heart of the matter
For the mercurial Australian, this might prove to be a boon and he can definitely use this opportunity for further improvements.
Rafa and Tomic are not the only star duo at Indian Wells, though. The list which is headed by the French team of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, also has the pairs of Dominic Thiem-Philipp Kohlschreiber, Milos Raonic-Nenad Zimonjic and John Isner-Jack Sock.
Alexander and Mischa Zverev, who won at Montpellier this month, too feature in the list.
After a stupendous show at the Australian Open where he lost the final to his nemesis Roger Federer in five gruelling sets, Nadal opted for rest and pulled out of ATP Rotterdam. His next appearance will be at the ATP 500 event – the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico, starting on February 27.
Tomic, who bowed in three sets to qualifier Steve Darcis at Delray Beach on Tuesday, too is scheduled to play at the same tournament.
Rafa has traditionally played doubles at the inaugural Masters of the season and this year is no exception. It gives him the much-needed practice time before embarking on his singles campaigns at the back-to-back Indian Wells and Miami Masters events.
Tomic’s deft touches and Rafa’s strong baseline play are expected to make them an efficient doubles team. There is no doubt that they will provide fans with plenty of entertainment.