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Roger Federer says Novak Djokovic will only get better despite Indian Wells exit

Djokovic looked a pale shadow of his former self on his return from right elbow surgery

Novak Djokovic of Serbia waves to the fans after losing his match against Taro Daniel of Japan during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden of the Czech Republic on March 11, 2018 in Indian Wells, California
Image: Novak Djokovic was out-of-sorts but Roger Federer says he will only get better

Roger Federer has warned the rest of the ATP Tour that Novak Djokovic "is going to get better" despite the Serb falling at the first hurdle at Indian Wells.

Five-time champion Djokovic suffered a shock second-round loss to Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel, who sent the out-of-sorts Serb tumbling with a hard-fought win at the BNP Paribas Open.

Daniel, ranked 109 in the world, claimed the biggest win of his career as he prevailed 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-1.

Novak out, Fed through at Indian Wells
Novak out, Fed through at Indian Wells

Novak Djokovic loses to Taro Daniel at Indian Wells while Roger Federer wins through

It was another snag in the return for Djokovic, who admitted he lacked composure as he made 62 unforced errors overall, while playing in just his second event of 2018 and first since having surgery on a right elbow injury.

The 30-year-old took six months off after Wimbledon last year and then lost to Hyeon Chung in the Australian Open fourth round in January before going under the knife in Switzerland shortly after.

Federer, who finished off Federico Delbonis in a rain-disrupted match to reach the third round, said he understands how even a champion like Djokovic could be struggling to find his game so soon after having surgery.

It is still early stages for Novak coming back and the first one after surgery. He's only going to get better from here.
Federer on Djokovic's return

"To me, it's not that surprising," Federer said. "When you go away from the game for over a two-month period, it starts feeling a little bit that way.

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"When you do come back from injury or when you haven't played in a long time, it just takes extra effort.

"It is still early stages for Novak coming back and the first one after surgery. He's only going to get better from here."

Live ATP Masters Tennis

You can watch the ATP Masters 1000 from Indian Wells on Sky Sports Arena and via the red button from 6pm on Monday. You can also watch it from 11pm on Sky Sports Main Event.

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