Novak Djokovic in crisis? What does this negative period depend on?

The Serbian champion started 2024 in a negative way: let's try to analyze what happens

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Novak Djokovic in crisis? What does this negative period depend on?
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

At almost 37 years old, the Serbian champion Novak Djokovic is experiencing one of the most complicated moments of his glorious career. We have seen his troubles also at the BNP Paribas Open, the first ATP Masters 1000 of the season, played on the Californian hard-courts of Indian Wells.

Only on two occasions had Nole not lifted a trophy before Miami, even as far back as 2007. It happened in 2018 and 2022.

The first of the two dates, in 2018, however, was due to the serious elbow injury, which kept him away from games for several months, preventing him from taking part in the first events of the season. Nole then won at Wimbledon and the US Open that year.

The second however, when he was prevented from competing in Australia and America due to the lack of an anti-Covid vaccine. In that case however, the first triumph of the year arrived in Rome.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion commented on his complicated moment in the press conference, also questioning his participation in the second round of the Sunshine Double, Miami.

"My level was terrible. He'll have a good day; I'll have a really bad day. It's a negative result for me. I'll analyze the match to understand what I could have done better and I'll move on. Now I play fewer tournaments and I'm more selective in my choice of calendar.

So it's not a good feeling to go out so early. I hadn't played Indian Wells for five years and I wanted to do well, but it wasn't in my destiny. Next tournament? For the moment it remains Miami, but ten minutes ago I was on the courtand I need to take a day or two to understand what I want to do. I made some terrible gratuitous mistakes," he explained.

"Usually at this point of the year I have won either a Slam or the Dubai tournament, I'm not used to zero titles."

This is the thought of Novak Djokovic expressed in the press conference after the surprising elimination in Indian Wells against Luca Nardi. A thought that highlights and tells the moment that the Serbian star has been experiencing since the beginning of 2024.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

But what does Novak Djokovic's crisis depend on?

First of all, I would like to clarify one thing: talking about a tennis crisis for three months to the tennis player who is probably the strongest in history and who dominated 2023 is perhaps too much.

Let's say that Nole is facing a period of lacklusterness. This can depend on many factors, but I essentially believe it is more of a physical problem than a mental one.

Anyone who wants to rewrite the history of tennis will always be hungry for titles. Is it advancing age? Well, it could have an impact, sure, but I don't think that's the problem.

The problem is perhaps some physical rust that Nole has been carrying with him since the beginning of the year. The elbow problem, a suspected flu, all small physical problems which, added together, led to performances that were not up to par at the Australian Open. On the other hand, the preparation for the Sunshine Doubles, despite the month of rest and recovery, may not have been perfect.

I believe that Djokovic will arrive at the clay season polished, ready to win and leave this negative period behind him.

Novak Djokovic