BELGRADE (Reuters) - Sitting out last week’s Miami Open was rejuvenating for Novak Djokovic although it meant missing the chance to win a record seventh title in the tournament, Serbia’s world number two said on Tuesday.
Djokovic missed the Masters series event with an elbow injury and, having recovered, is eager to face Spain in the Davis Cup quarter-finals in front of a boisterous home crowd next weekend.
“Of course I wanted to be on the court and defend my title but it just didn’t happen this time,” Djokovic told a news conference in the Serbian capital’s Aleksandar Nikolic arena.
“At the same time, it was also rather refreshing to get some rest and sit out Miami at home with my wife and son. It was quality family time which I don’t get enough of and it made me very happy,” he said.
“A hardcourt tie is not an ideal preparation for the clay court season but given that I was away for a few weeks after a patchy start to the season, I need as many matches as possible to get back into my stride irrespective of the surface.”
Djokovic added: “The Davis Cup is a very special event as it generates the kind of home crowd atmosphere you don’t see on the ATP Tour, so I am really looking forward to performing in front of our fans. I always draw very positive energy from the Davis Cup as it invariably brings out the best in me.”
Having dominated for several years to rack up 12 grand slam tournaments after clinching his maiden French Open title last June, Djokovic then suffered a dramatic loss of form which saw him ousted as the world number one by Briton Andy Murray.
With Murray also playing in fits and starts in the early stages of the season, Djokovic heaped praise on the evergreen Roger Federer after the Swiss maestro won the Miami Open following his Australian Open triumph in January.
“What Federer has accomplished this year is admirable and it shows that one can play at the top level even at his age. He’s had his ups and downs in the last three or four years but came back swinging and revitalised after a six-month layoff last year,” said Djokovic.
He said the Miami Open final between Federer and Nadal was “as outstanding as anyone might have expected from the greatest rivalry ever”.
Nadal will skip Spain’s clash with Serbia.
Editing by Mark Heinrich