The Serb was once the most dominant player around - winning four straight grand slam titles from 2015 to 2016 - but little of that scintillating form was on display when the 12-time grand slam victor was upset by Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-1 in the second round in Indian Wells on Sunday.
Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco used his powerful serve to upset third seed Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (4) 4-6 6-3 at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday while Roger Federer's tournament debut was hampered by rain.
Both Djokovic and Edmund were making their first appearances since the Australian Open.
No wonder the injury hit Djokovic uttered to reporters afterward: "For me it felt like (the) first match I ever played on the tour".
The 30-year-old took six months off after Wimbledon last year and then lost to Hyeon Chung in the Australian Open fourth round in January before going under the knife in Switzerland shortly after.
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Djokovic's performance in the final set against the world's 109th-ranked player on centre court raised some eyebrows, with four-times grand slam champion Jim Courier saying the Serb had "capitulated".
"When you do come back from injury or when you haven't played in a long time, it just takes extra effort". Striking his groundstrokes with conviction and refusing to concede the momentum shift, the Japanese would benefit from 22 unforced errors by Djokovic to snatch the opener in a tie-break.
The world No.1 - who has a ideal 13-0 record this year - is the defending champion and is bidding for a sixth Indian Wells title.
Daniel broke midway through the third set and never looked back, closing out his first Top 20 win with aplomb.
"It feels insane. I mean, I'm still in shock", Anisimova said.
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He extended his 2018 win streak to 13 matches and has only dropped three sets from 34 played this year.
"I just completely lost rhythm, everything, struggled a little bit with the health the last couple of weeks".
"I have been sick for over a week and tried everything I could to get better".
Frenchman Gael Monfils survived a match point before beating big-serving American John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 7-5 in a contest that had only one break. He defeats Federico Delbonis in straight sets after a rain delay and tough tiebreak.
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