Novak Djokovic, who’s a five-time champion in Indian Wells, put up a below par performance as he got knocked out of the BNP Paribas Open by qualifier, Taro Daniel in the second round.
Djokovic, on return from his right elbow surgery, looked a pale shadow of his former self as he went down 7-6(3) 4-6 6-1 to Japanese Taro Daniel.
The super Serb, who was seeded 10th, acknowledged his “weird” performance.
“It felt like the first match I have ever played on the tour, very weird,” he told reporters. “I just completely lost rhythm, everything, struggled a little bit with the health the last couple of weeks.
“I was grateful to be out on the court after surgery that quickly but at the same time just didn’t feel good at all. Nerves were there. I made so many unforced errors.”
The match was the Serb’s first Tour match since withdrawing from the Australian Open in January through injury. He also missed the last six months of 2017 with an elbow problem which required surgery, but he appears to still be struggling with the issue.
He admitted that it will be tough getting back to his best.
“Obviously having only played a couple of matches in nine months, you’re still, in a way, battling inside of your mind whether you’re fit or not,” Djokovic said.
“And even though you don’t have pain, you’re still thinking about it, because it’s been something that I have been feeling and dragging for over two years.”