What is going on with Novak?
Novak was once at the top of his game. In 2011, he had one of the most historic seasons to ever play in the world of tennis. It seemed that he would never lose. Yet, here we are. Novak has finally come back from his elbow injury, whether fully recovered or not, there seems to be some lackluster effort behind his return. He has always been a high spirit guy, always looking at the positive and has been trying to find his form that he once had back in that magical year. With his recent early exit from Indian Wells, we look for answers when it comes to why Novak isn't playing like himself.
With his lost to Tao Daniel, he made 58 unforced errors. 58!! I have no idea how someone could hit that many balls into the net or out of the court for a professional tennis player. People have their off days but Novak probably had the worst day of his career. He even said in a statement after his match, "for me it was like the first match I ever played on tour". After calling his season after the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, his goal was to recover and have a fresh start at this past Australian Open where he was beaten by rising star Hyeon Chung.
With this early exit, he does have support from his fellow competitors on tour. Juan Martin Del Potro has come out to defend Novak, "I think it's only (a matter of) time to get where he deserves to be. But it's not easy to deal with this kind of frustrations after injuries or when you always be the favorite to win a tournament, you come here and you lose in first round". Del Potro has made his own comeback from surgery after suffering a wrist injury and now he is back in the Top 25 of the World Rankings and looks to be Federer's main competitor for Indian Wells.
Djokovic's goal is to figure out what was going off the court before he can return to the court at 100%. With everything going on, he might be right. Take some time off and see what you need to do first before you can get back on tour. It is tough mentally and physically to come back right away to play in form players. Maybe this loss was a wakeup call. The Big 4 has been riddled with injuries and maybe this is a sign that the emergence of a new Big 4 will emerge (but still with Federer).