Novak Djokovic after Miami Masters loss: 'It's not working'

By @saihoops on
Novak Djokovic, Miami Masters
Mar 23, 2018; Key Biscayne, FL, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after losing a game against Benoit Paire of France (not pictured) on day four of the Miami Open at Tennis Center at Crandon Park. Paire won 6-3, 6-4. USA TODAY Sports / Geoff Burke

Former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic's struggles went from bad to worse on Friday (Saturday AEDT) when he suffered a 6-3 6-4 loss to Benoit Paire to crash out of the Miami Masters. Djokovic appeared to have been trying to find his rhythm after being sidelined for most of 2017 with an elbow injury.

After a disappointing Australian Open campaign, Djokovic underwent a minor surgical procedure on the same elbow, with hopes of returning to his best form for the European clay court season. However, Djokovic has now suffered back-to-back first-round exits at Indian Wells and Key Biscayne, Florida.

The latest loss has Djokovic feeling helpless. “I’m trying, but it’s not working. That’s all it is. I mean, obviously I’m not feeling great when I’m playing this way. Of course I want to be able to play as well as I want to play. Just, it’s impossible at the moment. That’s all,” a disappointed Djokovic said after the loss to Paire.

Paire, the 28-year-old Frenchman, broke Djokovic in the seventh game of the opening set before a more comfortable run in the second set.

“I felt I started the match well, first six games. Then I just ran out of gas. He was serving well. I just wasn’t able to break him down. He was just coming up with the good shots at the right time. It happened very fast," added Djokovic.

Prior to the start of the Miami Masters, Djokovic said he was finding himself playing without pain "for the first time in years". The Serbian was convinced that only the lack of match fitness was preventing him from returning to top form. However, Djokovic began doubting himself again after the latest shock defeat.

“I wanted to come to Indian Wells and Miami because I wanted to see whether I can play a match. I love playing on the hard court. I wanted to get a couple of tournaments before the clay court season starts. I obviously wasn’t ready for that," Djokovic said before pondering on his availability for the Monte Carlo Masters (Aril 14-22).