Novak Djokovic plays Miami Open 2019

The difficulty of completing the Sunshine Double

Now that the Australian Open is over focus turns to the sunshine double, the two gloriously hot and sunny tournaments at Indian Wells then Miami


What is the Sunshine Double?

The Sunshine Double is when a player wins Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back in the same season. In the women’s game, Indian Wells and Miami are two of the five Premier Mandatory tournaments. On the men’s side, Indian Wells is one of the nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. Often dubbed as the two greatest championships outside of the Grand Slams, winning the Sunshine Double is a very impressive feat.


When is the Sunshine Double?

With the Australian Open behind us, Indian Wells is the next most important event. This year’s tournament will run from 9th March – 22nd March. Miami will follow right after beginning on the 23rd March and concluding on the 5th April.


Why is it called the Sunshine Double?

The term ‘Sunshine Double’ derives from the fact Indian Wells and Miami are played in the extremely hot states of Florida and California.


How easy is it to win the Sunshine Double?

When the likes of Martina Navratilova, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams have not completed the Sunshine Double, you know it is a tough achievement. Only three women have won the Sunshine Double. All-time great, Steffi Graf first achieved the double in 1984. It took another 21 years for another female to win, with Kim Clijsters adding the Double to her list of accolades. Victoria Azarenka is the last player to do it in 2016. It does not get much better in the men’s game with a mere seven players securing the Sunshine Double. Jim Courier first did it in 1981, before Pete Sampras completed the double in 1984. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the only players to do it on multiple occasions.


What makes the Sunshine Double so hard to win?

When one has to play successive tournaments in sweltering heat, it is not going to be easy. Clijsters said the trip between both states, makes it a challenge. “The most obvious thing is the longevity of the trip. You’re hoping to play four weeks in a row, and that’s the biggest challenge of the trip,” Clijsters said. The competition is just as intense, as the top players typically enter both tournaments. Even if a player wins Indian Wells, they are bound to run into tough opposition in Miami and that’s another reason why it is a tough mountain to climb.


Will anyone do the Sunshine Double in 2020?

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are obvious picks given their history. Naomi Osaka has a chance in the women’s game. Osaka first big title came at Indian Wells in 2018 and she is at home on hard courts. She also has the game to keep points short and conserve her energy. Defending Miami champion, Ashleigh Barty could do it as she has performed consistently well and as a result, has a strong lead in the WTA rankings.

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.