Novak Djokovic’s struggles continue after shock Indian Wells defeat

It appears as if Novak Djokovic faces a long and hard road back to his glory days on the tennis tour.
The Serb was once the most dominant player around — winning four straight grand slam titles from 2015 to 2016 — but little of that scintillating form was on display when the 12-time grand slam winner was upset by Japanese qualifier Taro Daniels 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-1 in the second round in Indian Wells on Sunday.
Djokovic — who benefited from a bye in the first round — relinquished a 5-2 lead in the first set and wound up committing 61 unforced errors.
Having enjoyed so much success in the California desert by winning five titles, Sunday marked his earliest Indian Wells exit since his debut in 2006. And he hadn’t lost to any qualifier since 2008 in Miami.
As his form began to dip at the end of 2016, Djokovic admitted that he had been affected by off-court issues that he hasn’t elaborated on. But his elbow problems certainly appear to be the much bigger concern.
READ: What’s wrong with ‘Superman’ Djokovic?
Djokovic shut down his season after Wimbledon in 2017 and despite not being at his best, decided to play at this year’s Australian Open where he was ousted by South Korea’s Hyeon Chung in the fourth round.
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.
Quick turnaround from surgery
“I was not even supposed to be here because of the surgery that was only five, six weeks ago,” said Djokovic.
If the surgery wasn’t enough, Djokovic looked like he had been suffering from illness on the eve of Indian Wells.
“I just completely lost rhythm, everything,” said Djokovic. “Just struggled also a little bit with the health the last couple of weeks.
“But … 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.
“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.”