When you beat the guy who is the poster of your room: Luca Nardi lives the dream after victory over Djokovic

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A poster in his room. Since he was eight years old, Luca Nardi has worshipped his favorite player. Every day he spent at home, after waking up and before going to bed, the Italian would see the Serbian’s picture behind his front door.

And from the memorabilia that still adorns the bedroom of his home in Pesaro, on the Italian coast of the Adriatic Sea, to the dream fulfilled in the Californian desert. Nardi defeated Djokovic on Tuesday night in Indian Wells 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

For Nardi, it was an event unexplainable by the laws of nature: “I think it’s a miracle! I’m a 20-year-old kid, 100th in the world…. and I just beat Novak!”

The 123rd in the world has seen countless Djokovic’s matches. The one that stands out the most is the Serb’s victory in the 2019 Wimbledon final against Roger Federer, in which he saved two championship points on his way to the title.

He has Tomás Etcheverry to thank. The Argentinean withdrew at the last minute from the main draw of the first Masters 1000 of the year, thus giving a place to Nardi, who had lost to David Goffin in the last round of the qualy. Lucky loser Nardi was even luckier. Etcheverry was seeded, so the Italian went straight to the second round. There he overcame China’s Zhan Zhizhen with the extra motivation of being able to play the match he always wanted to play.

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“I wasn’t planning to stay here. I had to leave the next day,” Nardi told the ATP website. “I just stayed because there was a small chance of getting in the draw and it happened. my mind was already on the next tournament.”

Djokovic meanwhile, is dealing with an “Italian problem”. The loss against Nardi increased Djokovic’s negative record against tennis players from Italy in recent months.

The Serb has an stunning 62-5 record from the start of 2023 to date taking Italian players out of the equation; against Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Mussetti and now Luca Nardi, the numbers are in the red (2-5).

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