Luca Nardi pulls off the upset of 2024 defeating Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells

Nardi, the lucky loser in the Indian Wells men's draw, beat Djokovic in three sets

Clive Brunskill/GettyImages
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Prior to Monday night, Italian tennis player Luca Nardi was not a household name. He won four matches and lost twelve in his short career on the ATP Tour. Everything has changed now that he defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells in what could be described as the upset of the year, and it is only March.

Nardi was the lucky loser meaning he did not qualify, but if a player in the draw dropped out, he would assume his position. Thomas Etcheverry withdrew so the Italian 123rd-ranked player in the world was inserted in his position.

20-year-old Nardi's tennis idol is Novak Djokovic. He had a poster of him in his childhood room. It must be mind-boggling for Nardi to comprehend that as a result of defeating his childhood idol , he will enter the Top 100 for the first time.

Nardi was not starstruck

After the match, Nardi admitted that he did not expect to win. He did not come out tentative or starstruck of Djokovic. He hit the ball cleanly with a ferocious forehand. Nardi also possessed a lot of speed and ran down the balls to keep the rallies going.

Djokovic did not play his best tennis, but fans are accustomed to seeing him problem solve his way out of a bind and win the match anyway. Nardi played at a high level and kept it up consistently through the match and arguably played even better in the third set when some players may have gotten tight.

Djokovic has never lost to a lower-ranked player at a Grand Slam or Masters 1000 level match. He is 7-2 this year with both losses against Italian players (Jannik Sinner and Nardi).

Nardi faces American Tommy Paul in the Round of 16. Will he be able to play at this level again? We will find out on Wednesday.

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