Novak Djokovic's struggles continue with Indian Wells defeat

Arnold Nichols
March 13, 2018

Novak Djokovic (SRB) during his second round match against Taro Daniel (not pictured) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

He then announced in early February that he had undergone a "small medical intervention" on the elbow, before practicing in Las Vegas with his renown coach Andre Agassi.

A bemused-looking Novak Djokovic described his feeling on the court during his three-set defeat to world No. 109 Taro Daniel as "very weird" and that "it felt like first match I ever played on the tour".

The Serbian hit 61 unforced errors during the match. "Just didn't feel good at all, nerves were there". 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.

On his return from right elbow surgery, Djokovic looked a pale shadow of his former self as he went down 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-1 to make a quick exit from a tournament he has won five times in the past.

"The night-time is much deader".

"When you do come back from injury or when you haven't played in a long time, it just takes extra effort. The surface doesn't react so much; the ball doesn't travel so fast".

In other men's matches, David Ferrer of Spain defeated Tennys Sandgren of the United States 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).

Federer staved off a set point in the second set tie-break to beat Delbonis 6-3 7-6 (8-6) and he will face 25th-seed Filip Krajinovic in the third round on Monday. "You know, I'm just happy that I managed to recover that quickly after surgery and just get out on the court".

For Daniel, this counts as the biggest win of his career and takes him into a third round meeting with Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, who defeated lucky loser Ruben Bemelmans, a late replacement for Kei Nishikori (withdrew with an illness) on Sunday.

"And I was able to stay pretty tough, so I'm pretty proud of that, yeah". "I didn't serve too good today but overall I'm pleased".

Two of the biggest ATP stars had contrasting fortunes at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California on Sunday as the top seed Roger Federer entered the third round but five-time champion Novak Djokovic crashed out in his first match of his comeback.

The defeat was just the fifth time in the past decade former world number one Djokovic has lost against a player outside the top 100 players in the world.

In other men's matches, Juan Martin del Potro steamed his way into the third round as the sixth seed needed just 69 minutes to beat Australian teenager Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-1. He will face Gael Monfils in the next match.

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