Novak Djokovic set to skip key tournaments as he sets his sights on two mega targets

Novak Djokovic set to skip key tournaments as he sets his sights on two mega targets

There is an expectation that Novak Djokovic will miss some ATP 1000 clay court events ahead of the French Open.

As Tennis365 reported on February 15, Djokovic pulled out of next week’s Miami Open despite his early exit from the Indian Wells Masters.

Djokovic was been dumped out of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells by lucky loser Luca Nardi, with the world No 123 the lowest-ranked player to beat Djokovic at ATP Masters 1000 or Grand Slam level.

That defeat could have encouraged Djokovic to get more match practice in by playing in Miami, but his withdrawal from the event in Florida was evidence that he will not shift from his plan to play fewer events in the final years of his career.

Djokovic has made it clear that his focus for what is left of his career is on trying to add to his record-breaking collection of Grand Slam titles and he has also set his sights on Olympic singles gold in the Paris games this summer.

That drive to stay fresh and injury-free for the events that still motivate him means Djokovic is not expected to play in all three ATP 1000 events on clay in Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome in April and May.

He is expected to play a maximum of two of those events, with Monte-Carlo and Rome likely to be on his schedule ahead of the French Open.

Assuming he reaches the latter stages of the events he enters, Djokovic is not expected to play a warm-up grass court tournament ahead of his attempt to win a record-equalling eighth title at Wimbledon this summer.

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“I don’t feel like I’m old or tired or anything like that,” said Djokovic.

“I know that biologically and realistically things are different than they were 10 years ago for me. I have to be smarter with my schedule and peak at the right time. So the slams are the tournaments where I want to be able to perform my best.

“I’m going to focus all my attention on Slams mostly. When you are going for No 1 rankings, you kind of have to be playing the entire season and you have to be playing well, you have to play all the tournaments.

“My goals will adapt and will shift a little bit, which means that I will have an opportunity to adjust also my calendar which, as a father and a husband, I’m really looking forward to that.”

Djokovic’s eagerness to spend time with his wife and young children is becoming pressing and it will be easier for them to travel with him when he is in Europe.

There may be a change in strategy if Djokovic’s poor form continues, with his reflections as he lost to Nardi in Indian Wells summing up where he is at this point in his career.

“I can’t really say I’m part of the tour,” admitted Djokovic, as he suggested his limited tournament entries meant he was not a regular ATP Tour performer any more.

“No titles this year. That’s not something I’m used to. I was starting the season most of my career with a Grand Slam win or, you know, Dubai win, or any or tournament.

“It’s fine. You know, it’s part of the sport. You just have to accept it. Some you win; some you lose. Hopefully I’ll win some more and still keep going.

“I guess every trophy that eventually comes my way is going to be great (smiling), obviously to break the kind of negative cycle a little bit I’m having in the last three, four tournaments where I haven’t really been close to my best.”

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