"I just felt awful on the court. Nothing worked. It's one of those days," the ATP no. 1 Novak Djokovic says after an embarrassing third round match loss of 6-4, 7-5 at Monte Carlo against Daniel Evans. This was the first meeting of the Serb and his determined opponent.
The odds did go to Djokovic, but somewhere along the way the Brit had other plans that resulted in a victory for the no. 33 player in the world. It seemed almost an impossible dream for Evans who's lately been fighting his way up the ATP ladder rankings match by match.
The Brit hadn't won a match since February 6 when he captured the title at the special tournament at Melbourne for "hard" quarantined players who haven't been out of their hotel rooms during the Pandemic.
This was the first time that Dan Evans had defeated Novak Djokovic and moved over into the quarterfinals of any Masters 1000 events. "It's one against one...He gave me some cheap ones today...I was a little lucky there, but I'm just really happy with coming through," Evans commented smilingly.
It was truly not Djokovic's day on the competitive courts.
He would lose his serve five times and plus the day was a windy one. "Tough to play in these kinds of conditions," Novak had to admit that Evans played really well saying "He was a better player.
Just more focused, I guess," the Serb had said. This is the first loss that Djokovic had in 2021 and for Dan it's the first-round win on clay in four years. Dan has said that clay isn't his favorite surface but he's starting off with a victory and over the no.
1 player in the world. He finds it difficult taking in all of the attention over years ago when he was ranked in the 100s and was just an average player no one knew that well. "Sometimes it's a little embarrassing when people are saying well done too much," Evans frankly said.
As for Djokovic this loss is just one for the books that he is ready to shake off and forget. He had told Eurosport.com that "..As I walk off the court, I'm disappointed withthe way I played...but it's a long clay season...still plenty of tournaments, plenty of room to improve..."
Novak Djokovic's next tournament will be at his home country of Belgrade where he says "Obviously I have to work, hopefully get a better performance next week."