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Emma Raducanu stretching to hit a backhand slice on court at the Qatar Open

Breakthrough Brits, first-time champions & potential title challengers – five questions ahead of the BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells


Ahead of the BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells – kick-starting with qualifying from 3 March – we take a look at some of the biggest questions surrounding the ‘fifth Grand Slam’ in the tennis calendar.

Will there be a British breakthrough in the WTA draw?

British women’s tennis has been on the rise over the last few years, with three players currently ranked inside the top 100 – Katie Boulter, Jodie Burrage and Harriet Dart.

Of the three, only Dart has ever won a main draw match at the BNP Paribas Open – battling through qualifying to reach the fourth round back in 2022 – but this year, they all look set to capitalise on decent runs in form.

Boulter is into the main draw on ranking for the first time as she aims to build on her career-best win against Jessica Pegula at the United Cup in January and second round appearances at the Australian Open and the Upper Austria Ladies Linz.

Dart’s efforts to replicate her results from two years ago will also start in qualifying. However, the 27-year-old has been one of the standout performers of the year already, reaching the final at the WTA 125 in Canberra and making her first WTA semi-final at the Transylvania Open.

As of Saturday, Emma Raducanu has also been given a wild card into the main draw in California.

Raducanu enjoyed one of her best results of the season at Indian Wells last year, beating two top 25 players to make the fourth round. She'll be hoping that the tournament will give her the breakthrough she needs to kick on for the season.

Update: Burrage has been forced to pull out ahead of the tournament.

Read our full BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells preview

Will Cam Norrie and Dan Evans reach new milestones?


Two of Britian’s top-ranked stars will be aiming for career milestone wins at the BNP Paribas Open.

British No.1 Cam Norrie is just four victories away from reaching 200 tour-level wins in his career so far. The 28-year-old has won five titles in his career, including his historic trophy at Indian Wells back in 2021, becoming the first British player to be crowned champion in the desert.

So far this season, Norrie has made the semi-finals in Rio, progressed to his first Australian Open fourth round and picked up wins against world No.9 Alex de Minaur and Casper Ruud. If he replicates his run to the quarter-finals last year, he should clinch win No.200.

Dan Evans however needs just two wins to break the 150-barrier next week.

The Briton lifted the biggest title of his career last season in Washington and his victories at the US Open, Davis Cup and Shanghai have propelled him ever closer to this landmark.

Evans has reached the third round twice at Indian Wells and will need a similar run to tick off yet another milestone.

Will there be a first British doubles champion in Indian Wells?


Despite the huge amount of British success in recent years, we’re still yet to have an Indian Wells doubles champion flying the flag for GB.

Last year, Neal Skupski came close, eventually finishing runner-up with Wesley Koolhof having lost the final against Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden in a championship tie-break. The only other British player to make the final was John Lloyd back in 1982 alongside Dick Stocton.

It begs the question – who will be the first British player to break the streak, and will it come this season?

The British challenge will be spearheaded by the reigning US Open and Nitto ATP Finals champions, Joe Salisbury and his American partner Rajeev Ram. The duo has an impressive record in Northern America with three Grand Slams and two Masters titles in the region but are yet to go beyond the semi-final in this event.

Skupski will return to California with a new partner this year in Santiago Gonzalez. The two have only played a handful of events together but have already made a final at Delray Beach and the semis in Dallas. It’s worth noting that Gonzalez is also a former finalist in Indian Wells only two years ago.

Elsewhere in the draw will be Jamie Murray and Michael Venus, straight off the back of their first title of the season in Doha. Lloyd Glasspool won his fourth ATP title in Brisbane earlier this year and is up to world No.30.

Can anyone challenge the WTA ‘Big Four’?


We’re now fully in the era of the WTA ‘Big Four’.

The last two years on the WTA Tour have been dominated by four players – Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina and Coco Gauff, who have combined to win seven of the last eight Grand Slam titles.

The start to this season has been no different. Sabalenka retained her Australian Open title, Swiatek recently claimed the WTA 1000 crown in Qatar, Rybakina has won two trophies and reached another final, and Gauff was champion in Auckland for the second consecutive year.

Perhaps their biggest challenge could come from the in form Qinwen Zheng or Jelena Ostapenko. Zheng made waves at the Australian Open back in January becoming the first Chinese player to reach a major final since Li Na (2014) and has since gone on to make the quarter-finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Meanwhile, reigning Rothesay Classic Birmingham champion Ostapenko has already won two WTA 500 titles already this year on the hard courts, in Adelaide and Linz.

Further across the field you have 2022 runner-up Maria Sakkari, three-time Grand Slam runner-up Ons Jabeur and world No.5 Jessica Pegula, who are all wrestling for form at the moment and will hope that a strong run at Indian Wells can propel their seasons.

Will Jannik Sinner continue his unbeaten start to 2024?


What a start to the year it’s been for Italy’s Jannik Sinner. The now world No.3 etched his name in the history books after coming from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final, before going on to win the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam just weeks later.

Unbeaten in 12 matches so far in 2024, who can stop the 22-year-old?

Where else to start than five-time champion Novak Djokovic. The 24-time major winner will be out for revenge in California after being denied his 11th Australian Open trophy against Sinner in a tough semi-final clash.

Reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz will be a favourite to defend his title but comes into the event having recently retired from his opening match at the Rio Open.

Medvedev has won 18 of his 20 career titles on hard courts and boasts an impressive 75% win record on the surface. After his final loss in Melbourne, the world No.4 will have his eyes on the prize next week.

Lastly, we can’t not mention the eagerly anticipated return of Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard announced in 2023 that he would be back to compete for one more season, but injuries have got in the way. Now fit and ready to go again, could he make it four titles in Indian Wells?

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