| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Kenneth B. Goldberg

The BNP Paribas Open is set for March 4-17 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, will once again feature exceptional men’s and women’s fields highlighted by nine former BNP Paribas Open champions and 14 Grand Slam champions. Four-time winner Roger Federer and 2013 Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka will defend their titles at the event, with the deep fields also including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova. The announcement of the 2013 BNP Paribas Open player field kicks off a six week countdown to the beginning of the tournament when more than 300 of the world’s best players will descend on Indian Wells and compete to hoist the prestigious trophies. The fields are led by past champions (years in parentheses below), World No. 1’s, Grand Slam champions and a cadre of other top stars.

Overall, 33 countries are represented in the men’s draw and 32 are represented in the women’s draw. Americans in the field include 2012 finalist John Isner, Sam Querrey, Mardy Fish, Brian Baker, Ryan Harrison, Varvara Lepchenko, Sloane Stephens, Christina McHale, Jamie Hampton and Vania King.

On the men’s side, the field is led by world number one and recently crowned 2013 Australian Open champ Djokovic (2008, 2011), defending champion and world number two-ranked Federer (2004-2006, 2012) and world number five Nadal (2007, 2009), who account for eight of the last nine BNP Paribas Open titles. In addition, world number three and 2012 U.S. Open Champion Andy Murray, number four David Ferrer, number six Tomas Berdych, number seven and 2009 U.S. Open Champion Juan Martin Del Potro, world number eight-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, number nine Janko Tipsarevic, number 10 Richard Gasquet and 2002 Wimbledon Champion Lleyton Hewitt (2002-2003) headline the draw.

On the women’s side, the headliners include defending champion Azarenka (2012), world number two Sharapova (2006), fourth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska, fifth-ranked Angelique Kerber, number six and 2011 French Open Champion Li Na, number seven Sara Errani, eighth-ranked and 2011 Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova, World number nine and 2011 U.S. Open Champion Samantha Stosur, 10th-ranked Caroline Wozniacki (2011), Jelena Jankovic (2010), 2008 French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic (2008) and Daniela Hantuchova (2002, 2007), 2010 French Open Champion Francesca Schiavone and 2004 U.S. Open Champion and 2009 French Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.