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Djokovic: My Worst Match in Years

By Richard Pagliaro

Novak Djokovic
experienced a different sort of home sickness today.

The world No. 1 said he felt bad before he took the court and was sickened by his performance in a 6-4, 7-5 loss to Dan Evans.

More: Evans Shocks Djokovic in Monte-Carlo

The British No. 1, who carried an 0-11 record vs. Top 10 opponents and four career clay-court wins into the match, handed the world No. 1 his first loss in 11 matches.

Djokovic, who dropped serve five times including double-faulting away the final break to cede a 6-5 lead to Evans, called it "one of the worst matches and performances from my side."

"He was a better player. Just more focused I guess and played with a better quality in the decisive moments," Djokovic said. "To be honest, I mean, this has been probably one of the worst matches and performances from my side I can recall in the last years.

"I don't want to take anything away from his win, but from my side, I just felt awful on the court overall. Just nothing worked. It's one of those days."

The two-time Monte-Carlo champion was playing just his second match since capturing his ninth Australian Open championship in February. Djokovic showed signs of rust early today double faulting twice in a row to gift the opening break in the first game of the match.

Tennis Express

Playing in chilly, breezy conditions, Evans mixed his low slice backhand with some sharp, stinging forehands to unsettle the top-seeded Serbian.

"Should have and could have done much, much better. I mean, just awful performance," Djokovic said. "I can't take anything positive away from this match.

"I mean, just one of these things you have to accept. I guess you have to move on. It's not the first neither the last loss, but definitely leaves a bitter feeling exiting the court this way."

Pointing out this is just the start of a long clay season, Djokovic said he will get back to work on the practice court preparing for his true homecoming at the Serbia Open in Belgrade next week.

"Just was obviously very, very windy, tough to play in these kind of conditions against a guy like Evans who makes you move," Djokovic said. "He's very unpredictable with his shots. He dismantled my game.

"I mean, I was just not feeling it, and playing pretty bad. Obviously right now, as I walk off the court, I'm disappointed with the way I played, the way I felt on the court. But it's a long clay season. Still plenty of tournaments, plenty of room to improve.

"Obviously I have to work, hopefully get a better performance next week in Belgrade."

Photo credit: Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters