World No. 1 Novak Djokovic falls in the 3rd round at Indian Wells

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic falls in the 3rd round at Indian Wells

Novak Djokovic vit des jours difficiles. MAXPPP – RAY ACEVEDO

Immense surprise, le N.1 mondial Novak Djokovic a été sorti dès le troisième tour du Masters 1000 d'Indian Wells (Californie, Etats-Unis) lundi, par le jeune Italien Luca Nardi (20 ans), seulement 123e joueur mondial.

Huge surprise, world No.1 Novak Djokovic was knocked out in the third round of the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells (California, United States) on Monday, by the young Italian Luca Nardi (20), only 123rd player worldwide.

In the cool night of the Californian desert, it was urged by the entire audience that Nardi slammed the ace for victory Monday evening, before falling directly into the arms of his clan in the stands. Winner 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, the young Italian pushed towards the exit Djokovic (36 years old), emperor of tennis with 24 Grand Slam titles, who sits as a poster in his room.

"I'll keep it I think", Nardi smiled. "Congratulations to him, especially in the third set he played great tennis. I didn't know him well but I had watched a few videos and saw that he had quality tennis", commented Djokovic, appearing disillusioned at a press conference.

"I'I was rather surprised by my level, very poor. This is a negative result for me. I helped him play well, I made horrible unforced errors, I played defensive tennis, hit the ball badly in the 3rd set. He was more aggressive than me."

The Serb's place as world No.1 is not threatened by this failure, he who had no point to defend at Indian Wells where he did not ;had not played since 2019, missing several editions due to not wanting to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

"Negative cycle"

This early setback, however, sends Djokovic back to a mixed start to the year, after losing in the semi-final of the Australian Open in January. He had not played again since and will therefore have won only one match in California, on Saturday.

"I play fewer tournaments, I'm more selective, so it's not a good feeling at all to lose so early. I haven't won a title yet this year, I'm not used to it, but that's how it is. I'm going to move on", said the one who must head to Miami for the Masters 1000 which begins next week.

"I've been in a negative cycle for three or four tournaments where I haven't played at my best", admitted the Serb, annoyed during the meeting by several incidents of play. The Nardi tournament, however, is turning into a fairy tale, for him who was eliminated in qualifying by the Belgian David Goffin last week.

In luck, the Italian was then drafted directly in the 2nd round as a "lucky loser" to replace the Argentinian Tomas Martin Etcheverry, package. "It's an incredible feeling. I already couldn't imagine playing against him, and now I beat him! It's a dream come true", appreciated the Italian, certain to enter the Top 100 in the world thanks to his tournament.

Nardi beat China's Zhang Zhizhen on Saturday to win the right to challenge one of his idols. He now has a meeting with American Tommy Paul in the round of 16 on Wednesday.

Monfils and Parry qualified

Much earlier in the day, French veteran Gaël Monfils (37) emerged victorious in a 3h12 marathon against Briton Cameron Norrie (6-7, 7-6, 6 -3), despite 12 double faults and 21 break points to defend (18 saved) during a laborious but combative game on his part.

"I didn't have a great match but I managed to get through it, that' 39;s what confidence is. Being a good player, managing to win without feeling at your best", confirmed Monfils, who will face the Norwegian Casper Ruud (9th) on Wednesday. He will be accompanied in the tricolor clan by the young Diane Parry (21 years old), winner of the Russian Anna Blinkova (6-4, 6-3).

Caroline Garcia, Adrian Mannarino, Arthur Fils and Ugo Humbert, who remained on a success at the Dubai tournament last week, were however released. Aside from Djokovic, the big favorites of the day enforced the logic of the ranking like the American Coco Gauff (world No. 3) against the Italian Lucia Bronzetti (6-2, 7-6 ) or the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (N.2) against the British Emma Raducanu (6-3, 7-5).

The former Japanese world No.1 Naomi Osaka (26 years old), returned to the circuit in January after giving birth to her daughter in July, was taken out by the Belgian Elise Mertens (7-5, 6-4).

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