When world No. 1 Andy Murray sat down with reporters to talk about the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, he was asked about one quarter of the men’s singles draw which has gotten plenty of attention.
“[It’s] one of the toughest sections of a draw of all time,” Murray said.
On packed bottom 1/4 (Djoko, Fed, Nadal, Delpo) @andy_murray said has to be "one of the toughest sections of a draw of all time."— Douglas Robson (@dougrobson) March 8, 2017
Easy for him to say—the Scot is far removed from what some are calling the "quarter of death" in the desert.
But aren’t draws made so that the best players are spread out, only playing each other toward the end of a tournament? Well, yes, and that is the case if you look at the seeding in Indian Wells. But 45 Grand Slam titles in one section of the draw speak far louder than those numbers.
There are 45 Grand Slam singles titles in this quarter of the Indian Wells draw alone. ????— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) March 8, 2017
Coverage begins Thursday on WatchESPN. pic.twitter.com/dor5Rfwtb7
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic, 14-time major titlist Rafael Nadal and 18-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, three of the Top 10 players in the history of men’s tennis, are all in the same quarter.
Throw in two future Grand Slam contenders in Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev, the 15th and 18th seeds, respectively, and you have yourself what will undoubtedly be the most stacked section of any draw this year.
That's not all though. Rio silver medalist Juan Martin del Potro and 24th-seeded Steve Johnson are also floating dangerously in the very same area of the draw.
People usually would be talking about the potential threat that up-and-comer Kyle Edmund and Kevin Anderson, who was inside the Top 10 less than two years ago, might pose. But with the powerhouses around them, they are being overlooked.
So, what are some of the matches that could come to fruition in the bottom quarter in Indian Wells as the main draw gets underway?
The real fireworks may come as early in the third round. The two leaders of the ATP’s next generation, Kyrgios and Zverev, may meet for the first of what will likely be many encounters, while Djokovic and Del Potro are projected to clash for the second tournament in a row (the Serbian slipped past the Argentine 6-4 in a third set in Acapulco).
If all the seeds survive, Nadal and Federer will meet in the round of 16, with Djokovic and Kyrgios playing for the other quarterfinal spot (Kyrgios just stunned Djokovic in Acapulco).
There is one person who doesn’t seem to care about any of that, though.
Federer: it doesn't matter if it's final, semis, or fourth round. It only matters for you guys.— Ricky Dimon (@Dimonator) March 8, 2017
Regardless, having players who hold a combined 127 Grand Slam and ATP Masters 1000 titles between them in one quarter is insanely rare. It is safe to say that Murray's statement is accurate.