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A fan of Novak Djokovic to the point of having a poster of the Serbian in his bedroom, Luca Nardi fulfilled a dream by beating the world number 1 (6-4, 3-6, 6-3) in the third round of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 on Monday.

It was a win that shocked the tennis world, and the Italian got a chance to shed some light on what it meant to him after the match. 

“How does it feel to have beaten Novak Djokovic?
“It’s an incredible feeling. I couldn’t even imagine playing against him. Now I’ve beaten him. It’s a dream come true. I’ve been watching his matches for ten years. That’s the only advantage I had: he’d never seen me play!”

Do you still have a Djokovic poster on your bedroom door?
“Yes, I do. Every night, every time I go to bed, I see Novak. I think I’ll keep it.”

If, after losing to David Goffin in the second round of qualifying, someone had told you that you’d be there tonight, what would you have said to them?
“I’d definitely say ‘You’re crazy!’ It was unimaginable. I was only third on the list to be lucky loser, so I was already surprised to get into the picture. I’d never beaten a top 50 player before this tournament! Now I’ve beaten Zhang and Djokovic.

When did you start to believe you could beat him?
“In the first two or three games (he pauses)… Before the match, I spoke to my coach and said, ‘I don’t want to lose 6-1, 6-1.’ It was so windy, it was difficult for both of us. But I think I got off to a good start. I realized that I felt good at the exchange. So in the first few games, I think.”

Did you notice during the match how supportive the crowd was?
“Honestly, I try not to listen to the crowd too much, to stay focused on what I had to do. But after the match my coaches said to me, “Luca, everyone was cheering for you.” Against Novak, the best player in history, it was incredible. I’ll remember that moment for the rest of my life.”

A word about Tommy Paul?
Why are you asking me about Tommy Paul? Ah, I’m playing against Tommy Paul? I didn’t look at the board, thanks for letting me know *smiles*.”

This post is originally from L’Équipe