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Indian Wells 2024: Novak Djokovic News Prompts Tennis Legend to Affirm ‘Grand Slam’ Hype to the Event

Published 02/22/2024, 4:34 AM EST

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via Reuters

The 2024 tennis season is gonna be a lot more special than expected! Novak Djokovic‘s triumphant return to Indian Wells sparks anticipation and excitement as he sets his sights on a historic sixth title. Since 2019, the 36-year-old Serbian tennis player has not seen playing in Southern California, but this year, he is ready to return to the BNP Paribas Open for the first time in five years.

Not only that, Indian Wells has also been tagged as the fifth major since his return. But the biggest question is: does it legitimize the BNP Paribas Open being viewed as that fifth major now that he’s back? Recently, Mats Wilander, a former tennis player, shared his take on whether the tournament should be referred to as the fifth major in connection with Djokovic’s return.

Is Indian Wells the fifth major with Novak Djokovic’s return?

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All the Serbian tennis player’s fans are happy as the 24-time Grand Slam champion is ready to play the Indian Wells tournament for the first time in five years. And now that the tournament is just a few weeks away, there is a lot of debate going on regarding whether it should be tagged as the fifth major, as it will have the world’s number one ranked tennis player playing in the tournament.

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During a recent podcast interview with Andy Rodin, they talked about the most debated topics that are going around in the tennis world and even addressed the elephant in the room, which is the 5th major conversation. When asked about whether it’s right to give such a tag to the tournament, the 59-year-old Swedish tennis player shed his view on the same topic.

He stated, “To me, it changes everything. Absolutely everything, because now you have the best player in the world playing, and then suddenly, it means a lot more to be able to win the tournament, whether you beat Novak along the way. So it’s massively important; should they be allowed to call the fifth major?” 

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Further, he also highlighted that when it comes to the fields the tournament has and the winners, the Indian Wells will be the first tournament in line to ever become the fifth major in the future. But the biggest question is what is at stake for the world number one ranked tennis player that brings him to the returning platform?

What’s in store for Novak Djokovic with his Indian Wells return? 

The Serbian tennis player is tied with Roger Federer for a record of Indian Wells championship victories with five thus far. The 24-time Grand Slam winner is prepared to win what he lost as he prepares to win his sixth career title and perhaps try to set tennis records or exact revenge in the Australian Open semifinals.

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However, after enduring a year of injuries and dealing with them, Rafael Nadal is now stepping back on the Indian Wells court. Despite having to miss the Australian leg of the ATP tour, he is prepared to return to his normal self in time for the French Open. It wouldn’t be incorrect, though, to state that two of the top three tennis players will be competing in the tournament this year for the first time in a long time.

Nevertheless, what are your thoughts on Djokovic’s return? Do let us know in the comment section below.

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Written by:

Pratishtha Prakash

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Pratishtha Prakash, tennis writer and resident analyst at EssentiallySports isn't just a sports journalist; she's a storyteller who found her true calling in tennis content. It is something she seamlessly integrates into both her professional and personal realms. Having professional certifications in content and digital marketing, Pratishtha has made it a habit to hone her skills as a quality journalist.
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Edited by:

Ananya Giri