Indian Wells Masters 2024: The great boss Djokovic is in low hours | Tennis | Sports

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In Indian Wells, a haven of peace according to the tennis players who enjoy it, a full-fledged upheaval: Novak Djokovic, Djokovic himself, falls, when the tournament has barely warmed up and everyone trusted that the number one, back in California after five years of absence, he could feel an extra stimulus by winning again – he has not done so since 2016 – and thus distance himself from Roger Federer, also five laurels. But no, it won’t be this time. Second appearance of the Serbian this week and quite a deja vu, because the one from Belgrade wanders erratically for two hours and 22 minutes, which is how long it takes for the blow against Luca Nardi to be consolidated: 6-4, 3-6 and 6-3. Once again, as happened in the Australian semifinals against Jannik Sinner in January, Nole is not Nole. He neither attacks nor defends nor does he stop fighting. There is no trace of the magnificent taker or the leader and, in the end, the rival ends up jumping on his beard and finishing him off.

Things get worse when the opponent’s record is inspected and it is confirmed that Nardi, 20 years old and well-mannered, but with less than a dozen matches in the elite and recaptured at the last minute to complete the final table, is currently ranked 123rd. “I’m 20 years old, I don’t know how I managed to control my nerves. I beat Novak! I think the fact that there was wind helped me. Before starting the match, I told my coach that my goal was not to lose 6-1 and 6-1, but after three or four games I realized that I could win,” says the Italian incredulously, who, giving in to know because until now he was invisible in the eyes of the general public and he knows that this Tuesday he will appear in all the sports news, he also says that for years he has hung a poster of the Serbian in his room and that before diving into his dreams every night he takes a look at it Take a look, to see if anything from the giant sticks.

“I congratulate. She didn’t know much about him, but she had seen him play. He has quality from deep, especially with his right foot, and he moves well. He had nothing to lose. He deserves it,” Djokovic approves, who then clarifies, carrot and stick: “But I am very surprised with my level. It was very, very bad. He has talent, but I have helped him play well. The two things have come together: he has had a great day, and I have had a very bad one. I made serious mistakes and in the third set I was very defensive. “It was a very poor performance on my part,” describes the king of the circuit. A king touched, upset, angry with himself. “I haven’t won any titles yet this year, and it’s not something I’m used to. But this is part of the sport. You must accept it. I hope to break this negative streak. Now I don’t play many tournaments, I’m more selective, but I don’t think I made any mistakes coming here. I really wanted to come,” he adds.

Nardi celebrates the victory against the Serbian.Jayne Kamin-Oncea (USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)

The fact is that history says that the defeat against Nardi is the most striking of his entire career in the territory of the Masters 1000. Until now it was the one he suffered against the South African Kevin Anderson in Miami, the 122nd in 2008. At the same time, the books convey that something similar had not happened in Indian Wells since 2007, when the Argentine Guillermo Cañas entered as a re-fisher. loser and knocked down the then leader, the Swiss Roger Federer. Djokovic falls badly, and the word crisis automatically flies over almost all the chronicles. Crisis? Too early for the trial. A bad start or low hours, yes, which he hopes will soon reverse the Balkan in the next station, Miami. Despite the loudness of the setback, he knows well what terrain he is moving on. Two years ago he lost in Dubai against Vesely, the 122nd; In 2018 he did it in Godó against Martin Klizan, the 140th; and that same year he could not beat Taro Daniel (109) in Indian Wells, nor the previous year with Denis Istomin (117º) in the Australian Open.

Except for that 2017 in which he was lost, he tried the honeys of the Grand Slams in the other cases.

“I guess every trophy that comes along will be fantastic. I hope I win some more and can move forward,” she closes with a half smile, while Italia wears one from ear to ear. The ambitious plan of his federation continues to reap successes and the rise of Sinner is joined by the progress of an interesting troop of players behind him. The transalpine country currently has 12 representatives among the best hundred seven men and five women—and continues to position itself as one of the most influential nations of the present. To the Davis Cup title and the runner-up finish signed in November by his team in the Billie Jean King Cup, he adds influence in the offices – Andrea Gaudenzi presides over the ATP – and greater structural weight – he has been organizing the Masters Cup for two years. in Turin. And now, a spark. The young Nardi, who caught his first point on the professional circuit at the age of 14, is still on cloud nine. Nobody could imagine it. Or if. He dreamed about it, and here it is: “Every night I look at the poster, and I think I will continue doing it.”

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