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Novak Djokovic was beaten by Luca Nardi—who was ranked 123rd in the world—at Indian Wells (6-4, 3-6, 6-3), and the Serbian tennis star who’s sitting at No.1 admitted that he’s currently far from his best while acknowledging that the 20-year-old Italian had amply deserved his victory.

Here’s what he had to say at a press conference following the stunning upset. 

Did his level of play surprise you? Did you know Luca Nardi before facing him this evening?
“First of all, congratulations to him. I’d seen him play. I didn’t know much about him, but I knew he had great baseline tennis, particularly with his forehand. He moves well, he’s talented. He came into the draw as a lucky loser, he really had nothing to lose and he played well. He deserves to win. I was more surprised by my level. My level was very, very bad. That’s the way it is. He had a good day and I had a very bad one.”

Do you think the fact that you haven’t played since the Australian Open can explain your current level of play, or is it the conditions here and the fact that you haven’t been here for five years?
“It’s probably a bit of both. I’m not so sure. Obviously, I’m going to analyze what’s been done and what could have been done better, and then we’ll move on. I’m playing fewer tournaments, so I’m more selective in my schedule. So, of course, it’s not very pleasant to go out very early in the tournament, especially here, where I haven’t played for five years. I really wanted to do well. But it didn’t happen. It’s part of the sport, you have to accept it.”

The longer the match went on, the more incredible the tennis he played. Did you think for a moment that he might go a little off the rails?
“No, I really didn’t. I helped him play well. I helped him play well and didn’t help myself at all. I made some really big unforced errors, played too much defensive tennis, and didn’t get on the ball enough in the third set. He played more freely, more aggressively than me, tried his shots, and that break at 3-2 in the third set was enough. It was windy today, unlike my last training sessions. But that’s no excuse. I should have done much better. But once again, all credit to him.”

It’s quite rare to see you without a title at this stage of the season. What do you think?
As I said, today was a poor performance on my part. After that, yes, no title so far this year. It’s something I’m not used to. For most of my career, I’d start the season with a Grand Slam victory, or a win in Dubai or some other tournament. It’s part of the sport, you have to accept that. I think any trophy that comes my way now will be nice (smile), to break this kind of somewhat negative cycle over the last three, four tournaments where I’ve never really been close to my best level.

This post is originally from L’Équipe