It is likely easy to read too much into Novak Djokovic already pulling out of the National Bank Open. The tournament doesn’t begin for two weeks, yet Djokovic is citing “fatigue” as the reason he can’t play in Toronto. Maybe Novak Djokovic just wants to focus on the next major, the US Open.
We could read into Djokovic’s deciding not to play in a tournament he has won four times before as when he lost to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final in five sets that Alcaraz didn’t just beat Djokovic that day, but that Alcaraz also changed the way Djokovic felt about playing tennis moving forward. Maybe Novak Djokovic witnessed firsthand the proverbial changing of the guard in tennis and knows it’s Carlos Alcaraz’s world now.
But that seems unlikely. Champions of the greatness of Djokovic normally don’t just suddenly quit and give up. If that were to happen with a player, they likely wouldn’t have the mental toughness to win 23 Grand Slams as Djokovic has done.
Novak Djokovic will no longer participate in the 2023 National Bank Open
We could read into Djokovic citing “fatigue” as the reason for not playing as he is beginning to feel his age. Not that he is old by human standards, of course, but for a tennis player required to have the stamina to beat great players 15 or more years younger than he is, maybe Djokovic just sees that struggle as getting harder and not easier and he wants the time off.
This could be the case, of course. Players rarely get the rest they actually need as they, especially young players trying to rise up in the WTA or ATP rankings, bounce from tournament to tournament in attempts to rack up points. Tennis is a grind.
This leads me to my last guess. Tennis is a very long sport in the calendar year. There is a slight break for December, but that’s not truly enough time to just relax if you want to be a high-level player. There are smaller tournaments and practice and all that comes with that. For a player to try to reach number 1, there is no real break.
Maybe that’s it. After being beaten by Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic is unlikely to regain the number 1 ranking any time soon. Alcaraz is going to likely keep winning tournaments, like the National Bank Open, that Djokovic isn’t even playing in. Maybe Djokovic just now only wants to focus on the major tournaments. If so, he deserves that.