Rafael Nadal reacts to shock Novak Djokovic loss to Dan Evans after beating toothless Dimitrov


Nadal congratulated Evans (Picture: AFP via Getty)

Rafael Nadal hailed Dan Evans’ straight sets win over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic as ‘the best victory of his career’.

Evans, the British No. 1, stunned top seed Djokovic 6-4 7-5 in little over two hours at the Monte-Carlo Masters – to book a quarter-final clash with Belgium’s David Goffin.

Djokovic described the performance as one of his ‘worst’ in recent years but praised Evans for the manner of his display.

Nadal, too, congratulated the world No. 33 – who will be on the cusp of a career-high ranking should he reach the semi-finals – on reaching a first Masters 1000 quarter-final by securing his first top-five win.

‘Probably for him is the best victory of his career. Well done for him,’ Nadal said in his post-match press conference. ‘That’s all I can say. I watched just a few points because I was preparing for my match.

‘But he looks playing quite well. The point that I saw, he was solid, not missing, playing his match. Yeah, well done for him.’

Evans sealed a famous win (Picture: Getty Images)

Goffin, who faces Evans next, admitted he was ‘surprised’ to come off court and see Djokovic on the brink of victory.

‘Yeah, of course, you’re always surprised when Novak is losing before the final, let’s say, especially against a guy that on the paper is not a clay court specialist,’ said Goffin after his straight sets win over fifth seed Alexander Zverev.

‘But if you see Dan, he’s an amazing, talented player. I always thought that he could play on every surface. Maybe in his head he was not a clay court player in the past, so he was not super confident on that surface.

‘But now it looks like he’s more professional, more stable in his game. I think he’s better, of course. I think he’s one step stronger than before, especially the last few weeks, few months. He won his first ATP title. Now on the clay he won a lot of matches.

‘He’s an amazing player. It’s going to be a tough match. Of course, it’s an amazing performance to beat Novak in a Masters 1000 here. I didn’t see a lot, but I just saw the end. I was playing. When I finished my match, it was like break. I just saw the last game. It’s a great performance for him.’

For Nadal, it was a routine day at the office. Grigor Dimitrov, the 14th seed from Bulgaria, was swatted aside 6-1 6-1 in just 56 minutes.

Goffin will face Evans next (Picture: Getty)

Dimitrov was clearly miles off his best and he explained afterwards that he would be heading to the dentist to solve a ‘massive tooth problem’ that had been affecting him for the past few days.

He said: ‘I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days. I have like a, yeah, big infection on my tooth. It’s been hard.

‘I haven’t been able to, like, sleep well or eat well or anything like that. I mean, it’s time to put an end to it. I was bearing it for a while this whole week.

‘Yeah, straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately. Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is. At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil, at home, so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.

‘Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible.’

He added: ‘Today was just no match to play. Honestly, there’s not much to say.

‘He is who he is on the clay. If you don’t do the necessary things against him, then obviously you don’t stand a chance. So, yeah, that’s just what it is.’

Dimitrov suffered with a ‘massive tooth problem’ (Picture: AFP via Getty)

Nadal admitted he had no idea about Dimitrov’s tooth problems.

‘I didn’t know that,’ said the world No. 3. ‘Now I understand a little bit more the things. Yeah, he was playing too aggressive and little bit out of rhythm. Yeah, sorry for him. I wish him all the best. As I said, he’s a great guy, a good friend.

Y’eah, I just hope the situation is to improve as soon as possible. Yeah, I didn’t know that. He didn’t told me. That shows how good guy he is. Hopefully the situation gets better for him soon.’

On Dimitrov’s performance, he added: ‘Well, today Grigor missed much more than usual him, no? We had some amazing battles together. Is true that today was not one of these ones.

‘I feel a little bit sorry for him today, that he played I think a bad match. I did my thing. But that’s it. I am just focused on try to play as good as possible every single point.’

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