Novak Djokovic’s clay-court campaign is launched – but not the way he wanted

Novak Djokovic's clay-court campaign is launched - but not the way he wanted


But on Thursday, the world No. 1 said he was “dismantled” by world No. 33 Dan Evans in his first defeat of the year.

The pair faced off at the Monte Carlo Masters with Djokovic – who had won the clay court twice before – later explaining that Evans completely “deserved” his 6-4, 7-5 victory.

“He was a better player,” said the Serbian in his post-match press conference. “Just more focused I guess and played with better quality in the deciding moments. It was probably one of the worst games and performances for me that I can remember. [recent] years.
Djokovic in action in his quarterfinal match against Evans.

“Yesterday I played [a] pretty good match i thought. Today was the complete opposite of what I felt yesterday. [It] it was obviously very, very windy, difficult to play in those kinds of conditions against a guy like Evans who gets you moving. He is very unpredictable with his shots. He took my game apart. “

Djokovic will now prepare for a return home to the Serbian Open, the first time the ATP Tour has played an event in Belgrade since 2012.

The 18-time Grand Slam winner has already won two trophies in the last four years of the event, triumphing in 2009 and 2011.

For Britain’s No.1 Evans it was one of the most significant victories of his career and on a surface where he has always struggled. Before arriving in Monte Carlo, he had won only four matches on clay.

Evans celebrates his quarter-final victory over Djokovic.
Despite the poor record, Evan looked confident throughout his clash with Djokovic, even admitting afterwards that he “felt comfortable from the start”.

It wasn’t entirely easy for Evans. He had to fight after losing 0-3 in the second set and saved a set point later.

And after his fourth career top 10 win, he admitted he had additional motivation behind Djokovic’s delay.

“He made me wait a bit at the start of the game in the locker room, it was a bit boring, so I was ready from that – it got me a little excited,” the 30-year-old said.

Evans will now face Belgian No.11 seed David Goffin, who knocked out fifth-seed Alexander Zverev.

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Evans in action in his quarterfinal match against Djokovic.
“It hasn’t leaked yet,” Evans said in his post-game interview. “I couldn’t believe the last ball went over the net. It almost didn’t. I was happy no matter how I was playing before the game. felt good.

“The most important thing is that you have to believe that you can win,” he added. “I can keep saying it, but you really have to believe it. Of course, I doubted myself in the game. Serving is not easy. You have all kinds of things. [of things] going through your head. I’m just happy with how it turned out and it will be a moment to savor for maybe after the tournament, to tell the children and grandchildren that you have beaten the world No.1. It’s good. “

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