Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2024 and Rafael Nadal - Brisbane International 2024

Novak Djokovic admits he was ‘sad’ to see Rafael Nadal withdraw from Indian Wells

Novak Djokovic has spoken about Rafael Nadal pulling out of Indian Wells, reflecting on ‘the big three’ era coming to an end.

Djokovic, who is making his first appearance at Indian Wells since 2019, is set to play his first match since the Australian Open later today.

The world No.1 travelled to California in the same plane as his great rival Nadal and has now reflected on the Spaniard’s withdrawal from the event, “It’s sad for the tournament that Rafa had to withdraw and also for him. I actually travelled with him to America, that was not planned. It was nice to see him and his family.

“I know he came in early because he really wanted to adjust to the time zone, get as much practice as possible, get himself ready to play, that’s why he came in early. He gave his best but it wasn’t to be.”

Nadal announced his withdrawal on Wednesday, after admitting that he ‘can’t lie’ to himself or the fans about his current fitness status.

With Roger Federer retired and Nadal openly admitting that this is likely to be his final year on the ATP Tour, Djokovic has spoken about the end of an era.

“Those moments will come for all of us,” said Djokovic. “You know, when they actually come and you actually understand that that’s it, Roger finished his career, Rafa and I are probably not going to play much more.”

The Serbian continued, “It’s a kind of one era to an end and it’s sad but at the same time, I think there’s so many wonderful moments, matches, and milestones that we can celebrate when it comes to each one of us and us as a group.”

Djokovic will return to the matchcourt later today, when he takes on Aleksandar Vukic in the second round of Indian Wells.

Inside the baseline…

It is always sad when a golden era of any industry comes to an end, and it is fair to say that Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have created the golden era of men’s tennis. At times like this you have to appreciate it while it is still here, with it seeming that Nadal does not have much longer left in the sport. However, Djokovic still appears to be going strong and is even contemplating playing at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics!

READ NEXT: Defending champion Elena Rybakina withdraws from Indian Wells

 Join >> Receive $700/£600 of tennis gear from the Tennishead CLUB

 Social >> FacebookTwitter & YouTube

 Read >> World’s best tennis magazine

 Shop >> Lowest price tennis gear from our trusted partner 

Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.