"I am sorry I won't get to see my fans in Indian Wells...my favorite place to go..." the no. 1 ATP player, Novak Djokovic had said on his Twitter page after withdrawing from the BNP Paribas tournament. He had been struggling with many situations on tour and off that not participating at the 'Desert event' might be in his best interest.
At the beginning of the Pandemic-plagued season, Novak Djokovic who had suffered from the virus himself proved his comeback powers by winning the Australian Open title over Russia's Daniil Medvedev in three straight sets.
This was quite the opposite as his last tournament played was with Medvedev who defeated him for the U.S. Open title also in straight sets. It proved embarrassing for the Serb to not only lose the opening set against the Russian in the New York final, but Djokovic wasn't able to take his opportunities and break Medvedev in the second set.
Smashing a racquet, receiving a code violation, letting his anger get the best of him and boos from the Open crowd had proven too much. Rest would have to be taken and to get back to his family which was missed after months on tour in a 'bubble-secluded' season.
The Serb hasn't been shy with winning titles despite the disadvantages and he gracefully captured 4 Grand Slam trophies even though he didn't win the U.S. Open for a calendar year grand slam. "I will have to revise my schedule...obviously time away from family definitely is something that has an impact on me," he would explain.
The victories and titles are fine, but struggling mentally on playing opponents and then being without family on travels worked against his emotional psyche. "At times it rips my heart apart," he would go on to elaborate.
At press conference time after his Open defeat, he would explain no matter the result the tournament being over for him was a good thing. "Relief, I was glad it was over. The build-up for this tournament...and mentally, emotionally I had to deal with...was a lot to handle.
Djokovic says that after the loss he "felt sadness and disappointment." But it wasn't all negative and he explained that when the audience was supporting him he felt "gratitude for the crowd and for that special moment they've created for me on the court."
The withdrawal from Indian Wells, a tournament he's won 5 times before is still sad for him. Stress is ahead as the two ends of season tournaments, the Masters 1000 in Paris and the ATP Finals in Turin in November are questionable of seeing Novak Djokovic's participation.
Another present issue is the Pandemic which imposes that everyone gets vaccinated. He has flown to Serbia to rest and be with his family and when asked what will be his next tournament to play, there was a bit of uncertainty in his manner.
He would only give a smile because as of now there are too many unanswered questions for a tour that hasn't ended yet.