Taylor Fritz rejects suggestions Indian Wells winner should have asterisk due to Novak Djokovic’s absence
Taylor Fritz has brushed off suggestions that the player who wins this year’s Indian Wells Open should have an asterisk next to their name because Novak Djokovic is not allowed to compete.
World No 1 Djokovic is missing the ATP Masters 1000 title in California for a second year in a row due to his unvaccinated status as foreign nationals are not allowed to enter the United States if they have not been inoculated against Covid-19.
The 22-time Grand Slam winner applied for a special exemption to play in both the Indian Wells Open and the Miami Open. However, he was unsuccessful and withdrew from Indian Wells, but remains hopeful that the powers that be will have a change of heart and allow him to compete in Florida with the second leg of the Sunshine Double getting underway on March 20.
However, it does mean the five-time Indian Wells champion won’t feature again this year and some feels it weakens the quality, especially with Rafael Nadal also absent due to injury.
“I see it as kind of the same as last year,” defending champion Fritz said. “No Novak, but at the end of the day no one is going to look back at this tournament 10, 20 years from now and be like, oh well there’s an asterisk there because these people weren’t playing.
“If you win Indian Wells, you win Indian Wells.”
Eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime is another player who doesn’t think the tournament will lack quality due to the absence of the Big Two.
“It’s not gonna change much I think [on Djokovic and Nadal’s absence]. At the end of the day, there is a great field of players in the tournament that’s gonna go on and it’ll be a success,” he said.
The Canadian added: “You know, I think for tennis, you want all the best players in the tournament. I think even me, as a competitor, like if I do win a tournament like this one, I wanna feel like there were the best of the best in the draw. Also, it’s not great for anybody that like Rafa and Novak are missing.”
Fritz will open the defence of his title against fellow American Ben Shelton in the second round while Auger-Aliassime will kick off his campaign against Pedro Martínez.
“Last year winning this tournament, it really couldn’t have happened in a better place,” Fritz said.
“It was such an amazing moment and I have a lot of confidence playing here. It feels like home.”
Daniil Medvedev in line to complete incredibly unique milestone
Daniil Medvedev is just one match win away from winning a 21st ATP Tour title in a 21st different city.
Coco Gauff labels latest triumph ‘a mental victory’ after coming back from the brink
Coco Gauff pulls out incredible fighting win in China.
Carlos Alcaraz confesses to tactical errors in stunning loss to Jannik Sinner
Carlos Alcaraz has admitted to slipping up against Jannik Sinner.
Elena Rybakina claims ‘many players are not happy’ about performance bye rules
Elena Rybakina has reiterated her complaints about the performance bye system.
Jannik Sinner exposes Carlos Alcaraz’s big weakness with a stunning win in China
Sinner moved one clear in his head-to-head clashes with Wimbledon champion Alcaraz as he notched up a 7-6(4) 6-1 win in Beijing.
Coco Gauff breaks through another prize money barrier with latest win in China
Coco Gauff is second on the prize money list in the women’s game in 2023.
WATCH: Agonising default in Shanghai as ball smashes into umpire at high speed
Polmans his out-of-control swipe had desperate consequences as he smashed the ball at the chair umpire and was given an instant default.
Australian Open chiefs announce huge schedule change for first Grand Slam of 2024
The new Sunday start will see an increase in the number of sessions across the three arenas from 47 to 52.
Will Novak Djokovic play until 2028 if his Olympic dream is shattered in Paris?
Will Novak Djokovic play at the 2028 Olympics?
Why did Ryder Cup hero Rory McIlroy break up with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki?
Rory McIlroy broke up with Caroline Wozniacki just as they started making wedding plans in 2014.