British No.1 Dan Evans recorded the biggest win of his career after shocking World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday. He went on to reveal a locker room incident that "fired him up" ahead of the game.
Evans has struggled on clay in recent years and his win over the Serbian was his first tour-level win on the surface since 2017.
On Thursday, Evans seemed confident with his shot-making and went about dominating Djokovic in the opening set before facing a fight back in the second. The Briton held his nerve before wrapping up the game 6-4, 7-5 to record a famous victory.
"I felt comfortable from the outset. In myself, I felt very good," Evans said, as quoted on the ATP Tour website. "But more importantly, I didn't feel he was being too aggressive, pushing me back too much. I was comfortable in the points. I hit my forehand well."
The British tennis player went on to reveal that Djokovic's delay in showing up for the match fired him up further while he also admitted to having luck on his side after the Serb failed to take advantage of his break point opportunities.
"He gave away some cheap ones today, which he never normally does. But I'm just really happy," Evans said, as quoted on BBC Sport. "He kept me waiting a little bit in the changing room at the start of the match. That got me a bit extra fired up."
"My game plan was to try to bring him forward and have him hit the ball low in the court. But I also thought I did a good job getting out of my service games. He had so many break points and didn't take them, so I was a little lucky there."
Djokovic was quick to give credit where it was due while also labeling his performance one of the worst in recent years. The Serbian, who succumbed to his first defeat of 2021, admitted that Evans' unpredictable shot-making "dismantled his game."
"To be honest, this has been one of the worst matches from my side I can recall in the last few years," Djokovic, who finished with 45 unforced errors, said after the match.
"It was just an awful performance. I can't take any positives away from this match. It definitely leaves a bitter feeling exiting the court this way.
"He deserved to win. He was a better player. He was just more focused I guess and played with better quality in the decisive moments," he added. "He's really a nice player to watch, not a great player to play against. Lots of talent. He's very unpredictable with his shots. He dismantled my game."
Evans will play in his first Masters 1000 quarterfinals on Friday where he will face World No.15 David Goffin, who upset the tournament's number five seed Alexander Zverev.