Novak Djokovic loses on his comeback at Indian Wells

Novak Djokovic loses on his comeback at Indian Wells

In just his second tournament since Wimbledon past year - his first comeback at the Australian Open in January saw him lose in the fourth round to Hyeon Chung before he chose to go under the knife for a "small medical intervention" - Djokovic looked well below his best as he went down 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-1 to a man ranked 109 in the world.

Japan's Daniel won the first set on a tie-break before Djokovic, making his return from an elbow injury, took the second.

As his form began to dip at the end of 2016, Djokovic admitted that he had been affected by off-court issues that he hasn't elaborated on. I was not even supposed to be here because of the surgery that was only five, six weeks ago.

Daniel had two break points to level it at 5-5 but, this time, Djokovic did come through - despite wasting his first set point with a horribly shanked drive volley.

"To me, it's not that surprising", the defending champion said in California.

Old rival Rafael Nadal will overtake Federer at the top of the world rankings if the Swiss fails to reach the semi-final in Indian Wells. "Very weird. I completely lost rhythm", said the Serb.

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"I just struggled also 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".

"I made so many unforced errors that it was just one of those days where you're not able to find the rhythm from the baseline, especially from the backhand side. Just some inexplicable, uncharacteristic errors, but that's I guess that's all part of the particular circumstances that I'm in at the moment".

Daniel, ranked 109 in the world, claimed the biggest win of his career as he prevailed 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-1. "I have been sick for over a week and tried everything I could to get better".

Among the other losers on Sunday were Germany's Alexander Zverev, who lost to Portugal's Joao Sousa 7-5, 5-7, 6-4, and American John Isner, who was defeated by France's Gael Monfils 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 7-5 in a gripping match, in which both players struck a total of 23 aces.

Nishikori withdrew from the Australian Open earlier this year with a right wrist injury.

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