Novak Djokovic’s return was stunningly cut short yesterday at Indian Wells. The 5-time champion was bounced by qualifier Taro Daniel 76, 46, 61.
Djokovic produced a myriad of errors late in the match, and appeared to give up on points. After, he explained.
“For me it felt like first match I ever played on the tour,” Djokovic said. “Very weird. I mean, I just completely lost rhythm, everything. Just struggled also a little bit with the health the last couple of weeks.
“I was grateful to be out on the court after surgery that quickly. But at the same time, just didn’t feel good at all.”
So why would Djokovic feel tennis is so foreign after missing less than two months? And why did he look so fatigued by the end of the match?
“Obviously having only played a couple of matches in nine months you’re still, in a way, battling inside of your mind, you know, whether you’re fit or not,” he said. “And even though you don’t have pain, you’re still thinking about it, because it’s been something that I have been feeling and dragging for over two years.”
And he admitted he was surprised by all the errors.
“Nerves were there,” he said. “I made so many unforced errors that it was just one of those days where you’re not able to find the rhythm from the baseline, especially from the backhand side. That has always been a rock-solid shot for me throughout my career.
“Just some inexplicable, uncharacteristic errors. But that’s, I guess, it’s all part of those particular circumstances that I’m in at the moment.”
Djokovic then revealed his schedule might not yet be set.
“I’m definitely going to think about everything,” Djokovic said. “Obviously I miss tennis. In one way, I miss competing. I miss being out there. It’s a big part of my life.
“But at the same time, I just have to talk with the team and create the best possible strategy moving forward.”
So does that mean playing Miami? We’ll see. But that was not an encouraging return for the Serb.
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