Indian Wells Masters announces major Novak Djokovic news

Djokovic hasn't played in Indian Wells since 2019.

by Dzevad Mesic
Indian Wells Masters announces major Novak Djokovic news
© Getty Images Sport - Adam Pretty

The Indian Wells Masters has officially confirmed Novak Djokovic as a participant in this year's tournament edition. 

Djokovic, a five-time Indian Wells champion, hasn't played in the desert since 2019. In 2020, Djokovic didn't play in Indian Wells because the tournament wasn't held due to the pandemic, while in 2021 - the year in which Indian Wells took place in October - the Serb decided to skip the tournament. 

When announcing his 2021 Indian Wells withdrawal, Djokovic said he was hoping to return to the tournament in 2022. But Djokovic ended up missing the 2022 and 2023 Indian Wells Masters editions because he wasn't allowed to enter the United States as an unvaccinated foreigner. 

Last May, the US authorities made certain changes in their vaccine policy and after returning to the US Open half a year ago, Djokovic is also set to return to Indian Wells this March.

"A welcome return to #TennisParadise. @DjokerNole will compete in Indian Wells for the first time since 2019!" Indian Wells announced.

Djokovic set for his 15th Indian Wells participation

Djokovic, 36, made his Indian Wells debut in 2016 when he was beaten by Julien Bennetteau in the first round. After debuting at the tournament in 2016, Djokovic also participated in the next 14 tournament editions.

Djokovic's first big Indian Wells result came in 2007 when he made the final before losing to Rafael Nadal. After losing his first Indian Wells final, Djokovic went on to win his next five finals in the desert - in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, and 2016. 

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

In his last Indian Wells appearance in 2019, Djokovic suffered a shock third-round loss to Philipp Kohlschreiber. Djokovic also didn't do well in Indian Wells a year earlier, losing to Taro Daniel in the second round. 

However, there is no doubt that Djokovic will be among the top favorites for the title when he returns to Indian Wells in March. 

Indian Wells Novak Djokovic