Djokovic and Nadal to battle for No. 1 ranking at Indian Wells

leye aduloju /
Australian Open Men’s Final - Novak Djokovic Beats Rafael Nadal

The world No. 1 ranking will once again be in play at Indian Wells, with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal set to duel for the top position in the men's game.

The No. 1 ranking has changed hands a couple of times over the last few months, with Nadal regaining the top ranking in November last year, and Djokovic moving back up after the Australian Open.

Djokovic is currently on 280 weeks at No. 1, just six weeks off Pete Sampras’s 286 weeks (second on the all-time list), and 30 weeks behind Roger Federer’s record.

The world No. 1 currently leads Nadal by 370 points in the rankings, and controls his destiny- the Serbian will definitely remain No. 1 after Indian Wells if he makes at least the semi-finals in California.

However, if Djokovic fails to reach the last four, he will open the door for great rival, Nadal, who must win the tournament to have any chance of usurping the Serbian at Indian Wells.

Djokovic is a five-time champion at Indian Wells, a record he shares with Roger Federer, but the 32-year-old has been below par at the Masters 1000 tournament in the last three editions, making just the solitary quarter-final (in 2019), and putting together a very ordinary 3-3 record.

While Djokovic’s rivals will be encouraged by the Serbian’s recent struggles at Indian Wells, they will also be weary of the form the great man has been in this year. The world No. 1 is a perfect 18-0 for the season, winning all six of his singles matches as he inspired his country to glory at the inaugural ATP Cup, claiming a record-extending eighth Australian Open title, and adding the Dubai crown to his collection.

That Dubai title ensured that Djokovic will go into Indian Wells at No. 1 in the world, as Nadal, who won the Acapulco title in the corresponding week, had been sniffing around a return to top spot.

Nadal has not always been at his best this season, but he gained a confidence-boosting title run in Acapulco, and will be bidding for a fourth title at Indian Wells. The Spaniard won his most recent title at the tournament in 2013, and has not been past the semi-finals since then.

The world No. 2 currently holds the record for most Masters 1000 titles, with 35, but he’s just one ahead of Djokovic, and will be looking to strengthen his position on top of that list at this year’s tournament.

The BNP Paribas Open is live from Indian Wells from 11-22 March.