Djokovic started the first of his two titles with the BNP Paribas Open, where he defeated Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-0. The final, which didn’t see the world no.1 tested, as he took the first set in just under 45 minutes in the Californian heat. The Canadian, who made the semi-finals of the first Grand Slam of the season in Australia, took a medical time-out, but it failed to stop a confident Djokovic who wrapped up the match in 90 minutes to take his 5th title.
“”It has obviously been a great couple of weeks,” said Djokovic.”To win this tournament five times is a fantastic achievement for my team and I” he said.
“We don’t take anything for granted, especially because this tournament has been, for many, many players, a favourite tournament. All the top players each year competing and trying to win it“added the Serbian who beat his rival Rafa Nadal in the semi-final.
Raonic, who won in Brisbane at the start of the season, said he needs to improve for the rest of the season. “I need to work harder. I need to execute better. My way that I go about things, I think I’m on the right track. I think it’s about putting the things together, being effective, which today I wasn’t able to do.
The records continued to be broken by the Serbian when he turned up at Miami’s Crandon Park to defeat Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the final, 6-3, 6-3, a week later.
Nishikori, who took Andy Murray to 5 sets in an epic Davis Cup encounter last month, beat Australian youngster Nick Kyrgios in the semi-final to set up an intriguing battle. He started well by breaking Djokovic, but it didn’t last long, as the Australian Open champion hit back, to take the set.
A knee injury at the start of the 2nd set curtailed the efforts of Nishikori who succumbed to defeat.
For Djokovic it meant career earnings of $98.2 million, and 28 ATP 1000 Masters Titles. A feat he holds ahead of Nadal (27) and Federer (24.) On top of this he becomes the first player to complete the Indian Wells and Miami brace three times in a row. “I enjoy these two tournaments back to back more than any other in the year,” said Djokovic.
Belarus player, Victoria Azarenka made a remarkable back-to-back title winning performance on the WTA tour circuit at the same venues.
Victory over old adversary and world no.1 Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4 at Indian Wells followed a Miami final win over Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-3, 6-2, to give her a rare ‘sunshine double.’ She is the third woman on the calendar to complete the 2 wins following Kim Clijsters in 2005 and Steffi Graf in 1994 and 1996.
Reflecting on her comeback from injuries in the past and her climb back up the world rankings, Azarenka said: “If you don’t convince your mind to be open and be disciplined it’s not going to work.”
British fortunes in both tournaments were also high on the agenda.
Although Andy Murray failed to feature in the latter stages of either tournament, after being defeated early on, his brother Jamie, has made no.1 in the world rankings in the doubles after a good run in Indian Wells. This comes after winning the doubles title at the Australian Open in January.
The rise of Johanna Konta this season just keeps getting better and better. After her superb run at Eastbourne last year on the grass courts, the 24 year old had a superb end of season run that continued into the new season.
At the start of the year, the British no.1 made the semi-final of the Australian Open before losing to eventual winner, Angelique Kerber. This form continued into the Miami Open where she became the first British woman to make the quarter-finals of the tournament before losing to Victoria Azarenka. She now goes into the clay season with a WTA career high world ranking of 21.