Tennis world baffled over ‘strange’ Novak Djokovic nightmare

Novak Djokovic (pictured) said he felt ‘awful’ on court during his stunning upset loss to Dan Evans at Monte Carlo. (Getty Images)

World No.1 Novak Djokovic has suffered his first defeat of 2021 after British star Dan Evans produced the ‘biggest win of his career’.

Evans, whose first-round win had been his first on clay at tour level for four years, had never beaten a top-six player before – but he put on a brilliant performance against a below-par Djokovic to win 6-4, 7-5 on Thursday.

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Djokovic praised Evans for his fight, but claimed he felt ‘awful’ on court.

“I don’t want to take anything away from his win but, from my side, I just felt awful on the court overall. Just nothing worked,” he said after the match.

“It’s one of those days. I can’t take anything positive away from this match. 

“It’s not the first, neither the last, loss but definitely leaves a bitter feeling exiting the court this way.”

Fans were rightfully stunned after Evans handed Djokovic his first loss in 2021 and put a dent in his Roland Garros preparation.

“Congratulations to him. I mean, he deserved to win,” Djokovic added.

“He’s got a really all-around game. He’s really a nice player to watch – not a great player to play against. Lots of talent. He’s very unpredictable with his shots. He dismantled my game.”

Rafael Nadal praises Evans after victory

Evans was thrilled with the victory and said it is a story he will tell his grandkids one day.

‘You gotta believe you can win,” he said.

“Of course I doubted myself, serving it out is not easy. You have all sorts running through your head.

“It will be one to savour for after the tournament and tell your kids and grandkids you beat the World No.1.”

Rafael Nadal had no such problems later, breezing past Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals of a tournament he has won a record 11 times.

Nadal said he caught part of the match during his warm-up and heaped praise on Evans.

Daniel Evans (picutred right) shakes hands with Novak Djokovic (pictued left) after winning in their third round singles match on day six of the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 15, 2021.

Daniel Evans (picutred right) shakes hands with Novak Djokovic (pictued left) after winning in their third round singles match on day six of the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 15, 2021. (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s the best victory of his career, so well done to him. That’s all I can say,” the Spaniard said in his post-match interview.

“I watched just a few points because I was preparing for my match but he looks (to be) playing quite well. The points that I saw, he was solid, not missing, playing his match, so yeah, well done for him.”

Evans will face David Goffin, who had earlier knocked out Alexander Zverev 6-4, 7-6 (9-7).

In other third-round matches, No.4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced 6-3 6-4 against Cristian Garin and the big-serving Greek will meet Alejandro Davidovich Fokina after he beat wildcard Lucas Pouille 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).

Italy’s reigning Monte Carlo champion Fabio Fognini also progressed, beating Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 7-6 (7-1).

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