Indian Wells: Djokovic knocked out by “lucky loser” Luca Nardi

by Stefan Jonsson
Luca Nardi tennis

Italian tennis has been on fire lately and is not all about Jannik Sinner… The 20-year-old talent Luca Nardi shocked pretty much everyone when he took out world no 1 Novak Djokovic of the BNP Paribas Open earlier, with some great nerves and a lot of powerful shots. Final result was 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Nardi, the lucky loser that entered the tournament only when Tomas Etcheverry withdrew with a hamstring issue, as he previously lost the qualifying round against David Goffin. That didn’t seem to concern him though as he took on the top seeded Djokovic.

Unlikely result

Looking at the stats ahead of this match, it was probably one of the most unlikely results in a long time. To start with, Djokovic had won 1,095 singles matches on the ATP Tour while Nardi had won 4… With this loss, Djokovic also saw his 11-match winning streak at ATP Masters 1000 events cut off. 

The Serb has won the Indian Wells Masters five times and has 24 Grand Slam trophies, Nardi was here for the first time and has never been in the main draw of a Grand Slam.

Also, at current ATP ranking of 123, the young Italian is the lowest-ranked player ever to win over Djokovic at a Masters 1000 (or Grand Slam tournament).

Anyone betting on Nardi for win this match would have gotten a return of around 19 times the money.

Djokovic pressured

Novak really had an off game in the first set but managed to assert himself in a much improved second one.

In the final set though, we saw a strong Nardi with some good moves and really powerful baseline shots put a lot of pressure on Novak with basically every ball.

Djokovic congratulated the winner but was also very disappointed with his own game after the match.

“Congrats to him, particulary in third set he played some great tennis, moves well, very talented. He got into the main draw as a lucky loser so he didn’t have anything to lose. He played great and deserves to win,” Djokovic said and continued; “I was more surprised with my level. My level was really, really bad.”

Luca Nardi seemed almost shocked afterwards as he dropped the racquet and put his hands to his face.

“How I held my nerve I don’t know. I think it is a miracle, because I am a 20-year-old guy, 100 in the world, and beating Novak. It’s crazy.”, Nardi said.

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