Novak Djokovic 'rooting' for Nick Kyrgios over Rafael Nadal as two reasons come to light

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Rafael Nadal takes on Nick Kyrgios in the Indian Wells quarter-final on Thursday in what will be their ninth meeting. The Spaniard leads the head-to-head by five wins to three losses but world No 2 Novak Djokovic will be ‘rooting’ for the Aussie to keep his ranking and records intact in his absence from the Californian Masters 1000.

He will now regain the ranking after the 26-year-old’s early loss in Indian Wells but could see Nadal hot on his heels for the rest of the season as a title win at the BNP Paribas Open would put the Spaniard just 950 points behind Djokovic. While Nadal will not play again until the clay-court season, which Djokovic is competing in, the world No 4 has just 45 points to defend for the rest of the season after the French Open as a result of his six-month injury layoff in 2021.

Djokovic, meanwhile, will have thousands of points to defend between the French Open and the end of the season, having won Wimbledon and the Paris Masters in that period as well as making the US Open final. The Serb secured the year-end No 1 ranking for a record seventh time last year but in his current form and with little points to defend, Nadal could be eying a sixth year-end finish at the top spot if he isn’t struck by injury again.

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