Novak Djokovic has ‘doubt’ as ‘rusty’ concern raised after Miami Open withdrawal

Novak Djokovic has 'doubt' as 'rusty' concern raised after Miami Open withdrawal

Martina Navratilova believes that Novak Djokovic, who recently pulled out of the upcoming Miami Open, is doubting himself after his trophyless start to the year. Djokovic has struggled to perform to his own high standards in recent months, with the Serb still waiting to win his first title of 2024.

Djokovic made it to the semi-finals of the Australian Open but was beaten by Jannik Sinner, who went on to claim his maiden Grand Slam title by winning the tournament. Things went from bad to worse for Djokovic at Indian Wells, where he fell to a shock third-round defeat at the hands of Italian lucky loser Luca Nardi.

He later confirmed that he would not be playing at the Miami Open, prompting Navratilova to suggest that Djokovic might be harbouring self-doubt due to his ‘rusty’ form.

“Sinner played a flawless match in Australia and that’s what it takes to beat someone as good as Novak Djokovic,” said Navratilova, speaking to Sky Sports. “Also after that Novak took six weeks off, and it’s great that he can take that kind of time off, but you have to be rusty a little bit.

“You’re rested but you rusted so you need those matches to get back into the swing of things, and Novak ran into a guy who was really hot that day. What happens when you get older is the bad days are worse.

“You have to have it [doubt] no matter what. Even if you don’t have it, the press reminds you. I wouldn’t worry about it if you have Novak’s mindset and I’m sure he’s not worried about it at all.”

Djokovic is likely to return to action at next month’s Monte Carlo Masters, a tournament he has won twice but the Serb has not gone beyond the quarter-finals since 2015. He explained his decision to withdraw from the Miami Open on Sunday, posting a message on X (formerly Twitter) to update his supporters.

“Hi Miami! Unfortunately I won’t be playing the Miami Open this year,” said Djokovic. “At this stage of my career, I’m balancing my private and professional schedule. I’m sorry that I won’t experience some of the best and most passionate fans in the world. I’m looking fw [forward[ competing in MI [Miami] in future!”