Nole arrived in Indian Wells for the first of nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, the BNP Paribas Open (March 6-16).
The 2008 and 2011 champion is no.2 seed and has a first-round BYE. He will meet world no.87 Victor Hanescu of Romania (6-0 H2H) in the second round.
Novak’s potential rivals in the later stages of the tournament are:
3rd round: Ivan Dodig (CRO, 31), Adrian Mannarino (FRA), Alejandro Gonzalez (COL)
4th round: Tommy Robredo (ESP, 16), Marin Cilic (CRO, 24)
Quarter-finals: Juan Martin del Potro (ARG, 6), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA, 9), Feliciano Lopez (ESP)
Semi-finals: Tomas Berdych (CZE, 4), Richard Gasquet (FRA,8), Grigor Dimitrov (BUL, 15)
Rafael Nadal (ESP, 1), Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI, 3), Andy Murray (GBR, 5), Roger Federer (SUI, 7) … are in the top half of the draw.
Last year Nole lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6.
The 26-year-old Belgrade native has won 16 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies and is bidding to win his first title of the season.
This will be Novak’s ninth appearance at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden (30-6 record). He comes into the event with a 6-2 match record in 2014.
Novak and Filip Krajinovic got WC into the doubles draw. They lost their first round match to Canadian/Latvian duo of Milos Raonic and Ernests Gulbis 6-7 (3), 1-6.