But on Thursday, the world No. 1 says he was “dismantled” by world No. 33 Dan Evans in his first lack of the 12 months.

The pair confronted off in the Monte-Carlo Masters with Djokovic — who has gained the clay occasion twice earlier than — explaining afterward that Evans totally “deserved” his 6-4, 7-5 win.

“He was a better player,” the Serbian said in his post-match press convention. “Just more focused I guess and played with a better quality in the decisive moments. This has been probably one of the worst matches and performances from my side I can recall in the [recent] years.

“Yesterday, I performed [a] fairly good match I assumed. Today, was utterly the reverse of what I felt yesterday. [It] was clearly very, very windy, robust to play in these sort of circumstances in opposition to a man like Evans who makes you progress. He’s very unpredictable together with his pictures. He dismantled my recreation.”

Djokovic will now put together for a homecoming at the Serbia Open, the first time the ATP Tour has played an event in Belgrade since 2012.

The 18-time grand slam winner has previously lifted two trophies during the event’s previous four-year run, triumphing in 2009 and 2011.

For British No. 1 Evans, it was one of the standout victories of his career and on a surface that he has historically struggled on. Before arriving in Monte-Carlo, he’d only ever won four clay-court matches.

Evans celebrates winning his quarterfinal match against Djokovic.
Despite that earlier poor report, Evan appeared assured all through his conflict with Djokovic, even admitting afterward that he “felt snug from the outset.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Evans though. He had to fight back from being 0-3 down in the second set and saved a set point later on.

And after his fourth top 10 victory of his career, he admitted he had some added motivation from Djokovic’s lateness.

“He stored me ready at the begin of the match in the altering rooms a little bit bit, it was a little bit annoying, so I used to be able to go from that — that received me a little bit further fired up,” the 30-year-old said.

Evans will now face Belgian No. 11 seed David Goffin, who knocked out fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev.

Evans in action during his quarterfinal match against Djokovic.
“It hasn’t sunk in but,” Evans said in his post-match interview. “I could not fairly consider the final ball went over the internet. It practically did not. I used to be happy, regardless, with how I used to be taking part in coming into the match. I felt good.

“The biggest thing is, you have got to believe you can win,” he added. “I can walk on saying it, but you have really got to believe it. Of course, I doubted myself in the match. Serving it out is not easy. You have got all sorts [of things] running through your head. I am just happy with how it went and it will be one to savor for maybe after the tournament, to tell the kids and grandkids that you beat the world No. 1. It is a nice one.”

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