The world number one underwent surgery on his right elbow in February last year, then proceeded to lose to Taro Daniel, then the world number 109, at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
On reflection, Djokovic admits that it was not the right decision to play at the California event in 2018, but believes it ended up proving a positive moment in his career.
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"I definitely wasn't ready to compete at this level last year," Djokovic condeded in his pre-tournament press conference.
"I was kind of convincing myself that I was, but I truly wasn't. I know most of my team members at the time were against me playing in Indian Wells and Miami because it was too early after the surgery.
It was quite a journey in the last 12 months. I don't regret [playing in Indian Wells and Miami]. I think maybe from this perspective, I could have, should have made a different decision, but I believe it also taught me some valuable lessons that helped me to create amazing results in the next seven, eight months and get from 22 in the world to number one in the world in less than six months.
"I did go through doubtful moments and questioning everything and experiencing a surgery for the first time in my life was something that I've never experienced before. I didn't know what to expect. I just had to acquaint myself with the new sensations, mental, physical, emotional, and it was all a great learning curve for me.
"I started the season very well. I hope I can restart here where I stopped in Australia."

'History!' - Watch the moment Djokovic clinched a record Australian Open title

Now a champion of 32 Masters 1000 titles, the Serb will be looking to win a sixth crown at Indian Wells - and provide a stark constrast in fortunes from his frustration this time last year.
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20/09/2021 AT 19:40