While most in the tennis world were stunned by Novak Djokovic’s collapse yesterday to qualifier Taro Daniel at Indian Wells, Roger Federer wasn’t.
And consider Federer won the Australian Open last year after taken six months off the tour!
“To me, it’s not that surprising,” Federer said of Novak’s loss. “When you go away from the game for, let’s say, over a two-month period maybe, it starts feeling a little bit that way.
“I feel like when you do come back from injury or when you haven’t played in a long time, it just takes extra effort. I think that’s probably also what he’s also feeling. And maybe was tired in the end a bit because, yeah, the focus you need to have is greater.
“I also thought Taro Daniel played very well, you know, made him work for it. Normally it’s the way Novak wins it. So this time he just lost one like this.
“Look, still such early stages for Novak coming back and the first one after surgery. Yeah, just — he’s only going to get better from here. He knows that. We all know that. But it was nice to see him playing again.
“I see where he’s coming from. I think every player feels that way. It’s maybe just strange to hear that from such a champion, you know, that he also feels that way.”
Federer added that he wasn’t sure if Djokovic was 100% healthy yet, and that plays role.
“I think as long as you’re 100% physically, you know, that helps,” said Federer. “I’m not sure if Novak is 100% yet. Only he knows. If he’s got still some rusts there, that’s going to rock your boat as well a little bit, you know, to be honest.
“It doesn’t take very much to get that feeling back, but in the beginning it’s very odd when you haven’t played match plays. And you can try as hard as you want in practice to pretend like it’s you’re down match point every single point you play. It just doesn’t feel the same, you know, playing in front of a crowd, saving breakpoints on the stretch, hitting winners onto the line. That comes over playing a good schedule with the right amount of practice, vacation, matches, everything.
“That’s why after injury or something like that, you just need a bit of time. And I think Novak needs that, too, even though I wouldn’t be surprised if he would have won here or Miami or anything going forward, because he’s too good of a player not to do something like that.”
Federer is back on court for a third straight day against Djokovic countryman Filip Krajinovic.
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