Nadal, Djokovic unlikely to play at Indian Wells

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Two of the biggest names on the men’s entry list for the BNP Paribas Open are unlikely to play in the Southern California tournament.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were injured during the Australian Open last month, and Djokovic’s COVID-19 vaccination status also is still an issue for the tournament, which runs March 6-19 at Indian Wells.

Djokovic, a five-time winner in the desert, missed last year’s tournament because of his vaccination status. The U.S. is set to end its COVID emergency declarations on May 11, but that is long after the tournament concludes.

Last month, Djokovic won the Australian Open, his 22nd career major, despite being bothered by a left hamstring injury. He returned to No. 1 in the world rankings. Nadal injured his hip during a second-round loss at the Australian Open and could be out up to two months.

Second-ranked Carlos Alcaraz, who reached the semifinals last year, is set to return to Indian Wells after missing the Australian Open because of injury. Also entered are No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 4 Casper Ruud and No. 5 Andrey Rublev. American Taylor Fritz is back to defend his title.

Also among the men’s entries are No. 7 Felix Auger-Aliassime, No. 9 Holger Rune and No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz. Nick Kyrgios and Andy Murray are in the field as well.

On the women’s side, top-ranked Iga Swiatek is back to defend her title from last year. She’ll be joined by Australian Open winner and second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka.

Also in the field are No. 3 Ons Jabeur, No. 4 Jessica Pegula, No. 5 Caroline Garcia and No. 6 Coco Gauff.

The remaining spots in the draws will be filled by winners of the qualifying tournament and wild-card recipients, who will be announced in the coming weeks.

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