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Roger Federer in the desert at the BNP Paribas Open? It never gets old

Roger Federer of Switzerland looks on during a practice session at the Australian Open on Jan. 25.
(Michael Dodge / Getty Images)

Roger Federer, who has reached the Australian Open semifinals in his impressive comeback from a six-month injury layoff, and world No. 1 players Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray lead the list of entrants announced Tuesday for the BNP Paribas Open, which will be played March 6-19 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The tournament will offer more than $14 million in prize money.

Federer, 35, missed the Indian Wells event last season after 15 consecutive appearances. He underwent knee surgery early last year and decided to skip the Rio Olympics and the U.S. Open in order to rehab the knee. He has been masterful and strong so far at the Australian Open, where he’s scheduled to meet Stan Wawrinka in an all-Swiss semifinal.

Serena Williams, No. 2 in the women’s world rankings, also will return to Indian Wells and try for a third title there. She lost to Victoria Azarenka, 6-4, 6-4, in last year’s final. Williams will play Jo Konta in a quarterfinal match at the Australian Open. Williams’ older sister Venus, who has made a surprise run to an Australian Open semifinal match against Coco Vandeweghe, also is scheduled to return to Indian Wells.

Vandeweghe is also on the list of Indian Wells entrants. So is world No. 9 and ever-popular Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who will meet Canada’s Milos Raonic in one Australian Open quarterfinal, and world No. 2 and 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, who recently made a shocking exit in the second round of the Australian Open.

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The Indian Wells facility has undergone renovations to Stadium 1, including the addition of more than 20 restaurants and concessions and the addition of restrooms to the upper bowl.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen

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