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Business News/ Sports / Tennis News/  Novak Djokovic back in Indian Wells to compete at the BNP Paribas Open after 5 years
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Novak Djokovic back in Indian Wells to compete at the BNP Paribas Open after 5 years

Novak Djokovic back in Indian Wells to compete at the BNP Paribas Open after five years. Earlier in 2019, COVID-19 travel restrictions did not allow him to move to the US.

Feb 25, 2024; Carson, California, USA; Novak Djokovic poses for a photograph during the game between the LA Galaxy and Inter Miami CF at Dignity Health Sports Park. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)Premium
Feb 25, 2024; Carson, California, USA; Novak Djokovic poses for a photograph during the game between the LA Galaxy and Inter Miami CF at Dignity Health Sports Park. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

Novak Djokovic is back in Indian Wells to compete at the BNP Paribas Open. The world number one has said that he is excited as he’ll be going to California for the first time since 2019. During that time, COVID-19 travel restrictions in the US did not allow him to take part in the annual tournament.

"It has been five years, way too long to not be part of the Tennis Paradise tournament, one of the best tournaments in the world without a doubt," Reuters quoted Djokovic as saying in a video about the tournament that is considered the biggest tennis tournament outside of the four Grand Slams.

"It's probably the favorite Masters tournament of so many players including myself. I can't wait to come and perform once again in front of some of the best tennis fans that we have on the tour," he said. Djokovic is seeking an unprecedented sixth title at the Masters 1000 event. It starts next week.

The Serb won the first of his 24 Grand Slams at the Australian Open in 2008 and backed that up a few months later by capturing his first Indian Wells crown.

"The first time I won the title in Indian Wells, it was one of the greatest titles of my career at that point. I remember I played Mardy Fish in the finals," he said.

"I was fortunate to win the tournament another four times and played some epic matches in the finals against (Roger) Federer and (Rafa) Nadal and many of the great players in that era. I'm really looking forward to coming back."

Three-time Indian Wells champion Nadal is set to compete at the tournament after missing last month's Australian Open due to a muscle tear.

The 2020 BNP Paribas Open was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak and Djokovic missed the next three editions as the United States did not allow unvaccinated foreigners to enter the country.

Djokovic was spotted in Los Angeles on Sunday night watching fellow sporting great Lionel Messi and his Major League Soccer side Inter Miami take on LA Galaxy.

Carlos Alcaraz and Elena Rybakina are the defending champions at this year's BNP Paribas Open, which runs from March 3-17.

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Published: 28 Feb 2024, 06:29 AM IST
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