He hasn’t played since Australia - a wrist injury ruling him out of Delray Beach but not preventing him from expressing his dissatisfaction at clay tournaments in February (see tweet below) - but he is next returning to potentially one of his favourite stops on the tour: Acapulco.
Kyrgios beat Djokovic on his way to the semis in 2017 and won the tournament last year after a memorable run that included three-set wins over Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka.
He’s only once made it past the second round in Indian Wells but in 2017 he showed good form at both Masters events - beating Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in Indian Wells before withdrawing from the quarter-finals due to injury and then losing to Roger Federer in three sets in the Miami semi-finals.
Oh, and if he needs any extra motivation to go deep again in Acapulco there’s the prospect of a juicy final against long-time rival Nadal.
OK, hear me out on this one.
Djokovic has looked in ominous form so far in 2020, as demonstrated by his 13-0 record, but in recent seasons this hasn’t been his best time of the year.
He hasn’t reached the final in either Indian Wells or Miami since 2016, when he won both events. Even last year, coming off the back of one of his finest performances in the Australian Open final against Nadal, he lost his second match in Indian Wells and his third in Miami.
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The year before he lost in the first round of both.
His results in 2019 mean he doesn’t have many points to defend, so can extend his advantage over Nadal at the top of the rankings.
He’s also doing things slightly differently by playing in Dubai ahead of the Masters double. It’s his first time in Dubai in four years and the first time he has played an event between the Australian Open and Indian Wells since 2017.
OK, Djokovic doesn’t have much to prove these days, but if he can shine over the next month it would at least prove troublesome for the field ahead of the clay season.
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After impressing in Australia, it might have been expected that Thiem would take some time off.
But he doesn’t really do that.
Instead he continued his slightly unusual course - at least for the top-ranked players - of heading to Brazil for the clay-court Rio Open for the fifth straight year.
Thiem called the tournament “tricky” due to the very late finishes and also added: “The conditions here are not easy, the balls and the clay. It’s a little bit different than anywhere else.”
All of which makes it an odd choice for Thiem between hard-court tournaments, despite his fondness of clay.
He’s also not scheduled to play this week, which means his next event will be defending the biggest title of his career at Indian Wells. He will then head to Miami looking to avoid a second-round exit for the third year in a row.
It's a big few weeks for the Austrian before he can turn his attentions fully to clay.
Mightily impressive at the Australian Open as he reached the semi-finals without dropping a set, can Zverev carry his form into Indian Wells, Miami and beyond?
He doesn’t have great form in Indian Wells, where he has lost early for the last three years, but, prior to a second-round exit last year, reached the final and quarter-finals in Miami.
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Before both Masters events he’s competing in Acapulco, where he won the doubles in 2019 and reached the final in singles.