Novak Djokovic 'not focused on tennis' as decline comment resurfaces

Djokovic suffered the biggest upset of the year as lucky loser Luca Nardi defeated him in Indian Wells. The lucky loser came through 6-4 3-6 6-3 to earn just his sixth career match win at ATP Tour level. 

It means that Djokovic has not been able to pick up the title in his first three tournaments of the season – an unusual occurrence in his glittering career. And the world No. 1 has reportedly pulled out of the upcoming Miami Open, meaning he won’t be back on a match court until next month.

Following his uncharacteristic early exit, former world No. 12 Bertolucci revealed that Djokovic was apparently distracted. “I spoke with some Serbian collegues. Apparently, at the moment, Djokovic’s head is not very focused in tennis,” he told Sky Sports Italia.

“He will probably take some days off and then try to reach his best level for the clay season.” It comes weeks after Bertolucci questioned whether the 36-year-old had entered a decline, suggesting that his form in Indian Wells and Miami would show whether or not his defeats at the start of the year were a fluke.

Speaking to Fanpage.it, the former Italian Davis Cup captain explained: “He is a player who played badly in Australia, as in previous matches. We have not seen him in good condition. Now, if this is due to a problem that can happen, because it happens that someone doesn’t get his preparation right, or if the decline has begun, we will find out in the American matches between Indian Wells and Miami.”

Djokovic lost to Jannik Sinner in the semi-final of the Australian Open and was defeated by Alex de Minaur during the Australia vs Serbia United Cup tie in Perth. Before this year, the world No. 1 had not lost a match on Australian soil since 2018. 

After suffering three losses in three tournaments, the 98-time career title winner said: “Yeah, no titles this year. That’s not something I’m used to. I was starting the season most of my career with a Grand Slam win or, you know, Dubai win, or any or tournament.

“It’s fine. You know, it’s part of the sport. You just have to accept it. Some you win; some you lose. Hopefully I’ll win some more and still keep going.” But his next opportunity won’t come until the clay season, with the Monte Carlo Masters kicking off on April 7. Djokovic is on the entry list, though he hasn’t won the title in Monaco since 2015.