Novak Djokovic resolves one of his big worries as he prepares for ATP Tour comeback

Kevin Palmer
Novak Djokovic United Cup press conference
Novak Djokovic speaks at a press conference

Novak Djokovic has resolved one of his biggest concerns ahead of his return to the ATP Tour.

Djokovic will play his first regular ATP Tour event since last October’s Paris Masters when he takes to the court at the Indian Wells Masters next week.

He is also due to take part in the Miami Open ATP 1000 tournament that will take place immediately after in Florida and that raised the prospect of the world No 1 being away from his family for an extended period.

Djokovic has not played a competitive match since losing the Australian Open semi-final against Jannik Sinner last month, with his decision not to play in the Davis Cup for Serbia based on his desire to spend more time with his wife Jelena and his two young children.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion has spent the last few weeks having a break from tennis and was spotted on the ski slopes as he took a break from the sport he has dominated for so long.

Now he is getting back into gear by playing at Indian Wells for the first time since 2019, with the presence of his family on this trip evidence of the new approach Djokovic looks set to adopt.

His family have travelled with him to America, with son Stefan joining him to watch soccer superstar Lionel Messi in action for Inter Miami before Novak heads to Indian Wells to prepare for the ATP 1000 event that gets underway on March 3.

The Serbian superstar spoke about the anguish he felt spending a lengthy period away from his family while he was away in Australia last month, as he revealed he missed a big moment for his daughter Tara.

“To be honest I do struggle with that more and more as time goes on,” he confessed when asked whether he misses his family when he is away from home.

“Australia is a long trip, probably the longest we have in the entire year. My son is nine and my daughter is six. Every day, every week they change.

“As a person, again, the balance of the private and professional life is the key. Obviously, it’s different for everyone. We are all different individuals. This is a very demanding sport with high travel intensity throughout the year.

“You have to play worldwide, which is beautiful, which allows us to travel the world and play in front of many different people and nations. At the same time, it separates you from the family and from the dear ones.

“When I’m not, how can I stay connected? Obviously, technology allows you to communicate, but it’s different when you are away.”

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Djokovic made the decision to make an early trip to America as he was on the same plane as his great rival Rafael Nadal last week.

Now it has emerged he has made the trip with his family after images were posted of him attending a Major League Soccer match with his son Stefan.

Djokovic owns a lavish $5million penthouse in Miami and his family are likely to use that as a base for the second leg of the ATP Tour’s ‘Sunshine Swing’ when he plays at the Miami Open in mid-March.

There have been suggestions that Djokovic is unlikely to play both ATP 1000 events as they are so close together given his statements that he is not keen to play a hectic schedule in 2024.

Yet with his family by his side, the Djokovic clan may be content to spend the next few weeks in America as the world No 1 looks to add to his already glittering legacy with more title wins.