Dominance comes at a price and that Novak Djokovic needs a rest comes as no surprise. The world number one bowed out of Wimbledon in the third round with a four-set loss to American Sam Querrey on Saturday. The defeat was his fourth of the year, and 10th in two years. That is simply how far Djokovic has surged ahead of his colleagues on the ATP World Tour, with almost double the points tally of the second-ranked Andy Murray.
The Serbian has played 138 matches since the start of 2015, winning an astonishing 128 of those. To compare that to his top-five counterparts, Murray (127 matches), Rafael Nadal (118), Stan Wawrinka (111) and Roger Federer (99) trail him. In growingly classy fashion, Djokovic largely tried to pay tribute to Querrey for his victory in his news conference. With the career Grand Slam ticked off for the 29-year-old, attentions quickly turned to the calendar year.
Given his complete and utter dominance, Djokovic looked a good chance of such a success. He played no tournaments between his Roland Garros victory and taking to the grass courts at the All England Club. But quickly approaching a half-century of matches at the halfway point of the year, and with rain bringing additional problems, Djokovic was flat. He was a scalp waiting to be taken and Querrey took advantage.
"I have a family and I have a life outside of tennis. I have plenty of things to look forward to," Djokovic said, providing some perspective. "I'm going to obviously pay more attention to those things than tennis in the next period. I need it. "It's been a very successful year so far, but a very long one, exhausting one, in every sense of that word. I just need some rest."
He hinted at injury, and said he may yet remain sidelined until the Olympics come around in August. That is almost per normal schedule, aside from potentially missing the Rogers Cup in Toronto in late July. It could have a major impact on his preparations for his US Open title defence in August and September. Djokovic will return refreshed, probably aiming for an elusive Olympic gold after being fourth in London four years ago and claiming bronze in Beijing.
His exit at the All England Club and upcoming break will provide some relief to the men he has dominated regularly. But beware of a rested, firing and hungry Djokovic when his season resumes after a well-deserved hiatus.