Photo : Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open
Everyone needs a winter getaway and where better for the tour’s best than tennis paradise?
The sunny California skies and the mountains of the Coachella valley are the backdrop this week for the biggest event outside of the Grand Slams and are a chance Canada’s stars to refresh and really get their seasons going.
It’s time for Indian Wells.
Here’s what you need to know.
What to Watch: A reset in paradise?
It has not been the start to the year that the Canadians may have hoped for, but the upcoming fortnight provides an opportunity to score a big result and get the season back on track at the so-called “fifth slam” in Indian Wells.
Five Canadians are expected to be in the singles draw: Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov on the men’s side, Bianca Andreescu, Leylah Annie Fernandez, and Rebecca Marino on the women’s. The two Canadian men will be seeded and will have first-round byes.
Gabriela Dabrowski will also be returning to the tour in doubles, competing in her first event since the Australian Open.
The women’s draw will be released later on Monday. The men’s draw will come out on Tuesday. Main draw play gets underway on Wednesday.
Read also: Game. Pet. Match.
World No. 1 and defending champion Iga Świątek will be the top seed on the women’s side, while world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz is the top seed on the men’s side after Novak Djokovic withdrew. Taylor Fritz is the defending men’s champion.
The entire Top 10 on the women’s side is expected to compete.
Notably absent from Indian Wells is 2022 runner-up Rafael Nadal, who will fall out of the Top 10 for the first time in 18 years once points drop. Nadal’s streak of 912 weeks in the Top 10 dates back to April 25, 2005 and is two full calendar years more than the second longest streak in history, belonging to Jimmy Connors.
In Case You Missed It: Medvedev keeps rolling
There was to be no third consecutive loss to Daniil Medvedev for Félix Auger-Aliassime, although the Canadian may have preferred that to his actual result.
Auger-Aliassime would have needed to reach the final of the ATP 500 event in Dubai for a third shot at Medvedev in as many weeks, but he instead went down in the second round to Lorenzo Sonego.
It may have spared the Canadian another painful loss at Medvedev’s hands as there appears to be no stopping the former world No. 1, who won his third consecutive title in as many weeks (a feat Auger-Aliassime accomplished in 2022), handing world No. 1 Novak Djokovic his first defeat of the year in the Dubai semifinals before topping Andrey Rublev in the final.
At the other ATP 500 event on the schedule last week in Acapulco, Denis Shapovalov suffered a similar second-round loss, falling to third seed Taylor Fritz in straight sets.
A Canadian three-peat was not in the cards in Monterrey, as Rebecca Marino lost in the second round at the tournament that Leylah Annie Fernandez had won in 2021 and 2022. Marino bowed out to Lin Zhu, the same player who beat her at the Australian Open, in three sets in the second round.
Fernandez did not defend her title, which was won by Donna Vekic who upset world No. 5 Caroline Garcia in the final.
Under the Radar:
Canada had reason to celebrate on Sunday as Katherine Sebov kept her strong start to 2023 going with a victory in her home town at the ITF W25 event at Sobeys Stadium in Toronto.
Elsewhere on the ITF circuit, Steven Diez reached the semifinals of an M25 event in Torello, Spain.
This week, Davis Cup champions Alexis Galarneau and Gabriel Diallo are both competing at an ATP Challenger event in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
There are two more ITF events being held in Canada this week with large contingents from the host nation. The men are in Montreal for the first of two events, while the women head to Fredericton.
Canada’s Stacey Fung will look to make it two titles in a row in the New Brunswick capital, having won there last October.
You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.