Indian Wells Champions: Complete list of champions at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells

Live Tennis Staff in ATP 4 Mar 2019
  • Who are the greatest players to have triumphed at the Indian Wells Masters?
  • We look back at all the champions who have reigned supreme in the California desert
  • The 2019 BNP Paribas Open is live from Indian Wells from 6-17 March
Roger Federer claimed a record-equalling fifth Indian Wells title in 2017. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

From Boris Becker to Novak Djokovic, the world's greatest players have reigned supreme at the Indian Wells Masters: Who will be the champion in 2019?

The first Masters 1000 Series of the season is almost upon us as the world's greatest players gather once more at the tennis resort town of Indian Wells in the California desert to vie for the title at the prestigious BNP Paribas Open - so what better time to look back at the iconic champions who have lifted the trophy in the tournament's history so far?

Currently a Masters 1000 Series event combined with a WTA Premier Mandatory tournament, and thus one of the biggest outside the four Grand Slams, Indian Wells traces its history back to the American Airline Tennis Games played in Tucson in 1974, when Australia's John Newcombe - who gave his name to the Newcombe Medal, the highest honour in Australian tennis - became the champion. In the 147 editions of the tournament currently known as the BNP Paribas Open, some of tennis's most legendary players have taken the title - players with names like Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and, in the past decade and a half, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

We look back at some of the Indian Wells Masters' greatest champions.

Kings of the desert: Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic

Like so many of tennis's biggest prizes, the Indian Wells Masters title has been a key battleground in the ongoing, ever-evolving rivalry between the trio of titans who have bestrode the game over the past two decades - and it's two of the three, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who have tied for most Indian Wells Masters titles.

Both Federer and Djokovic have won the title five times, and they also share the record for most consecutive titles.

Federer with the Indian Wells trophy in 2004 after defeating Tim Henman in the final (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Federer's first Indian Wells Masters ended in defeat in the first round to Nicolas Kiefer back in 2001, but once he got going at the tournament, there was no stopping him. The Swiss claimed his first title in 2004, beating Andre Agassi and Tim Henman in the semifinal and final, and went on to build an 18-match winning streak that took him to the title in 2005 (d. Lleyton Hewitt) and 2006 (d. James Blake).

His winning streak was snapped with a surprise defeat to lucky loser Guillermo Canas in 2007, and Federer could not get past the semifinals for the next four years. But in 2012, he returned to the winners' circle with a sequence of victories over significant opponents, beating Juan Martin del Potro, great rival Rafael Nadal and the USA's big-serving John Isner to claim his fourth Indian Wells Masters title.

Federer won his fifth Indian Wells Masters title in 2017, defeating Stan Wawrinka  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

It would be another long wait for the fifth - Federer was defeated in two finals by Djokovic in 2014 and 2015 - but in 2017 opportunity beckoned once more for Federer, who followed up his 18th Grand Slam victory at that year's Australian Open by beating Nadal in a historically early fourth-round clash and going on to defeat compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the final. Federer's victory made him the oldest Indian Wells Masters champion in the tournament's history at 35 years, 7 months and 11 days old.

He was close to a record sixth title in 2018 as he reached the final once more, but was denied by del Potro in a mesmerising clash.

Like Federer, Djokovic started his Indian Wells Masters campaign with an inauspicious defeat - in his case losing to Julien Benneteau in 2006 - but he found his feet the very next year, avenging himself on Benneteau and then defeating Andy Murray and David Ferrer to reach his first Masters final.

Novak Djokovic won his first Indian Wells Masters title in 2008  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

He lost that one to Nadal, but got his revenge in the 2008 semifinals and beat Mardy Fish in the final to win Indian Wells for the first time. His title defense in 2009 ended in the quarterfinals at the hands of Andy Roddick, and he lost in the fourth round in 2010 to Ivan Ljubicic, but in 2011 Djokovic was back in the champion's circle when he defeated Federer and Nadal back-to-back - one of tennis's most difficult feats - to claim his second title.

Novak Djokovic won his fifth Indian Wells Masters title in 2016 (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Big servers Isner and del Potro got the best of Djokovic in the semifinals in 2012 and 2013, but the Serb's run to his third title in 2014 (d. Federer) saw him inaugurate a three-year reign at the tournament, building up a winning streak of 19 matches which took him to the title in 2015 (d. Federer) and 2016 (d. Milos Raonic) before he lost in the fourth round in 2017 to Nick Kyrgios.

Djokovic suffered an early defeat at Indian Wells in 2018, but with the Serb restored to glory and holding the title at the last three Grand Slams - Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open - he will be the overwhelming favourite to win his sixth Indian Wells Masters title in 2019 and move clear of Federer altogether.

Youngest champion: Boris Becker

Boris Becker, who famously won Wimbledon at 17, claimed his first Indian Wells Masters title in 1987 just days after his nineteenth birthday, when he defeated Emilio Sanchez in the final. He successfully defended his title in 1988, joining Roscoe Tanner (1978-9) as a two-time champion at Indian Wells.

Other players who would win Indian Wells twice in future years are Jim Courier (1991, 1993), Pete Sampras (1994-5) and Lleyton Hewitt (2002-3).

Scoring hat-tricks

While Federer and Djokovic are tied for overall supremacy with five Indian Wells Masters titles each, a trio of the game's greats come just below them, with all three having a hat-trick of Indian Wells titles to their names.

Jimmy Connors, who is still the all-time ATP Tour titles leader with 109 to his name, was the first to do it. Connors was the first to win the tournament when it moved to California from Tucson, triumphing over Roscoe Tanner in 1976 in the final of what was still known as the American Airlines Tennis Games and played in Palm Springs.

It took five years before Connors won his second Indian Wells title, which came in 1981 with the tournament now held in La Quinta and a certain Ivan Lendl across the net in the final. La Quinta was also the scene for Connors's third title, when he beat Yannick Noah in the final. Connors's last appearance at Indian Wells came in 1992.

Michael Chang followed in Connors' footsteps by winning three Indian Wells Masters titles (Harry How /Allsport)

The second man to achieve the feat of three Indian Wells Masters titles was also an American. The tournament was firmly settled at Indian Wells and had been since 1987 when Michael Chang won his first title in 1992, beating Andrei Chesnokov in the final - three years after winning the French Open. Chang would go on to win back-to-back titles in 1996-7 (just the third man at the time to have won back-to-back Indian Wells titles following Roscoe Tanner and Boris Becker), beating Paul Haarhuis and Bohdan Ulihrach in respective finals.

The third man to win three Indian Wells Masters titles is still in with a fighting chance of adding to his overall haul, because Rafael Nadal's career is still very much alive and kicking. 

Rafael Nadal won his third Indian Wells Masters title in 2013 (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Spaniard first played Indian Wells in 2004, reaching the third round, and made it to the semifinals on his second appearance before losing to James Blake. By the time he won Indian Wells for the first time in 2007, beating Djokovic in the final, he had six Masters Series titles to his name, including hard-court titles in Canada and Shanghai.

Nadal made the semifinals or better for eight straight editions of Indian Wells, starting in 2006 and seeing him win the titles in 2007 (d. Djokovic), 2009 (d. Andy Murray) and 2013 (d. del Potro). That streak was snapped by Alexandr Dolgopolov in a third-set tie-break in the third round in 2014, and Nadal has only made the semifinals once on three subsequent appearances, losing to Djokovic in 2016. His last ousting at Indian Wells saw him have the unfortunate luck of facing Federer in the fourth round, and he was beaten in straight sets in 2017 before being unable to play the tournament in 2018 - but after his run to the Australian Open final to start 2019, would anyone really be willing to bet against him at this year's Indian Wells Masters?

Players with most Indian Wells Masters titles

Here is a list of all the players who have won the most titles at Indian Wells.

Most ATP Indian Wells titles

PositionNumber of titlesPlayerYear(s)
15Roger Federer2004-6, 2012, 2017
-5Novak Djokovic2008, 2011, 2014-16
33Jimmy Connors1976, 1981, 1984
-3Michael Chang1992, 1996-7
-3Rafael Nadal2007, 2009, 2013
62Roscoe Tanner1978-9
-2Boris Becker1987-8
-2Jim Courier1991, 1993
-2Pete Sampras1994-5
-2Lleyton Hewitt2002-3
111John Newcombe1974
-1John Alexander1975
-1Brian Gottfried1977
-1Yannick Noah1982
-1Jose Higueras1983
-1Larry Stefanki1985
-1Joakim Nystrom1986
-1Miroslav Mecir1989
-1Stefan Edberg1990
-1Marcelo Rios1998
-1Mark Philippoussis1999
-1Alex Corretja2000
-1Andre Agassi2001
-1Ivan Ljubicic2010
-1Juan Martin del Potro2018

Chronological List of Indian Wells Champions

Previous winners of the Indian Wells Masters

1974John NewcombeArthur Ashe
1975John AlexanderIlie Nastase
1976Jimmy ConnorsRoscoe Tanner
1977Brian GottfriedGuillermo Vilas
1978Roscoe TannerRaul Ramirez
1979Roscoe Tanner (2)Brian Gottfriend
1981Jimmy Connors (2)Ivan Lendl
1982Yannick NoahIvan Lendl
1983Jose HiguerasEliot Teltscher
1984Jimmy Connors (3)Yannick Noah
1985Larry StefankiDavid Pate
1986Joakim NystromYannick Noah
1987Boris BeckerStefan Edberg
1988Boris Becker (2)Emilio Sanchez
1989Miroslav MecirYannick Noah
1990Stefan EdbergAndre Agassi
1991Jim CourierGuy Forget
1992Michael ChangAndrei Chesnokov
1993Jim Courier (2)Wayne Ferreira
1994Pete SamprasPetr Korda
1995Pete Sampras (2)Andre Agassi
1996Michael Chang (2)Paul Haarhuis
1997Michael Chang (3)Bohdan Ulihrach
1998Marcelo RiosGreg Rusedski
1999Mark PhilippoussisCarlos Moya
2000Alex CorretjaThomas Enqvist
2001Andre AgassiPete Sampras
2002Lleyton HewittTim Henman
2003Lleyton Hewitt (2)Gustavo Kuerten
2004Roger FedererTim Henman
2005Roger Federer (2)Lleyton Hewitt
2006Roger Federer (3)James Blake
2007Rafael NadalNovak Djokovic
2008Novak DjokovicMardy Fish
2009Rafael Nadal (2)Andy Murray
2010Ivan LjubicicAndy Roddick
2011Novak Djokovic (2)Rafael Nadal
2012Roger Federer (4)John Isner
2013Rafael Nadal (3)Juan Martin del Potro
2014Novak Djokovic (3)Roger Federer
2015Novak Djokovic (4)Roger Federer
2016Novak Djokovic (5)Milos Raonic
2017Roger Federer (5)Stan Wawrinka
2018Juan Martin del PotroRoger Federer

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Indian Wells Champions: Complete list of champions at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells

From Boris Becker to Novak Djokovic, a full list of reigning and past champions of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells: Who has won the most titles at the Indian Wells Masters?

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