Novak Djokovic on his ‘learning curve’ and potential Nick Kyrgios clash

Novak Djokovic press conference

Last year Novak Djokovic started the Indian Wells Masters under an injury cloud and out of form. Fast forward 12 months and he is back to his best and favourite to land the title.

Djokovic underwent a small procedure on his troublesome elbow after the 2018 Australian Open and he struggled in the weeks after his return.

He suffered a shock second-round defeat to Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel in the second round of the Indian Wells Masters, but continued to slug away.

The Serb eventually found form again during the second half of 2018 as he won Wimbledon and the US Open, and returned to the top of the world rankings.

Djokovic, though, feels he learned valuable lessons last year.

“It was quite a journey in the last 12 months,” he said. “I don’t regret [playing in Indian Wells and Miami]. I think maybe from this perspective, I could have, should have made a different decision, but I believe it also taught me some valuable lessons that helped me to create amazing results in the next seven, eight months and get from 22 in the world to No 1 in the world in less than six months.

“I did go through doubtful moments and questioning everything and experiencing a surgery for the first time in my life was something that I’ve never experienced before. I didn’t know what to expect. I just had to acquaint myself with the new sensations, mental, physical, emotional, and it was all a great learning curve for me.”

The 15-time Grand Slam winner will face Bjorn Fratangelo in the second round at Indian Wells this year while Nick Kyrgios is a potential third-round opponent.

The Australian, who beat the likes of Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev en route to winning the Mexican Open last week, leads the head-to-head against Djokovic 2-0.

“We’ve always been aware of his qualities and talent, and he’s got big weapons in his game: serve, obviously one of the best serves on the Tour; big forehand and can play well on different surfaces. It’s just whether he’s consistent or not, so that’s what we’re going to see,” the five-time Indian Wells champion said.

“I lost to him both times that I played against him. If I get a chance to play against him… I’ll look forward to that because he’s in-form. On the other hand, I started the season very well. I hope I can restart here where I stopped in Australia.”

More from Tennis365: