The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. This week brings the return of Davis Cup and Maria Sharapova's appearance at the Paris Indoors.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and Roger Federer are just a few of the top names you won't see on this weekend's Davis Cup rosters. On top of that, Andy Murray's participation in the San Diego-hosted tie against the United States is also in doubt. That takes all the fizzle out of the two blockbuster first-round ties, between Serbia and Switzerland and the United States and Great Britain.
As of now, Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka will lead the Swiss against a Serbian team that doesn't include a top-100 singles player. If Murray decides to skip the tie against the United States, John Isner will lead a strong U.S. team, including Sam Querrey and the Bryans, against a British team that won't have a top-150 singles player. Bummer.
A more in-depth preview of the weekend's action will come after the draws.
Maria Sharapova headlines a field that features five top-10 players in Paris, where she'll look to rebound from her fourth-round loss to Dominika Cibulkova at the Australian Open. The fact that she remains in the draw is surprising, given the hip injury that hindered her in Melbourne. However, the fact that Sugarpova, her candy company, is a tournament sponsor might factor into her decision to play. She is the top seed, followed by Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani and Angelique Kerber (all of whom crashed out of the Australian Open early).
Along with Sharapova, Kvitova is the one to watch this week. She won the title in 2011 and sports a 31-5 indoor record since 2010. This will also be the first tournament for Simona Halep as a top-10 player. She's been drawn into Kvitova's quarter.
[Complete draw] Top seed Sabine Lisicki withdrew with a right-shoulder injury after winning her first round-match against Donna Vekic. That leaves just one top-20 player, Svetlana Kuznetsova, in the draw of this International-level tournament. Could we see a first-time champion here?