Player Features

From bedroom poster to Indian Wells clash: Nardi excited to face Djokovic

Learn more about the 20-year-old Italian
March 11, 2024
Luca Nardi competed in the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF.
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Luca Nardi competed in the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF. By Andrew Eichenholz

Since Luca Nardi was eight years old, he has seen a poster of Novak Djokovic on his bedroom door.

On Monday, the Italian will face the No. 1 player in the PIF ATP Rankings for the first time in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.

“I think it's one of the best experiences that a guy can live, especially for someone young like me,” Nardi told “I have a picture of him in my room, so you can understand. You can imagine for me how this can be very exciting. For sure it's going to be a great experience.”

The 20-year-old Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF alumnus has watched countless matches the Serbian has played over the years. One that sticks out is Djokovic’s victory in the 2019 Wimbledon final against Roger Federer in which he saved two championship points en route to the title.

This will be the pair’s first Lexus ATP Head2Head encounter and only Nardi’s second match against a Top 10 opponent. He has the utmost respect for the 40-time ATP Masters 1000 champion’s game.

“I like how he can move on the court. He is a very dynamic and elastic player,” Nardi said. “I love his mentality to always be tough and always try to be focussed and try to not let the opponent see how he feels or what he thinks. So it's a very nice thing.”

You May Also Like: Nardi's Perfect Day: Motorbikes & Football

Nardi was very close to not competing in the Indian Wells main draw at all. In the final round of qualifying, the Italian lost to 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion David Goffin. He was third on the lucky loser list.

Not only did Nardi eventually get into the draw, but he received a bye into the second round because the player he replaced, Tomas Martin Etcheverry, was seeded.

“I wasn't thinking about staying here. I was supposed to leave on the following day,” Nardi said. “I just stayed because there was a small chance to get in and it happened. My mind was already on to the next tournament.”

Nardi has waited for moments like this since he first stepped on the court in Italy as a boy following his older brother, Niccolo, to their local club.

“It's very cool. Thinking where I started, in a smaller tennis club where I was very shy to be on the court,” Nardi said. “My mom had to be on the net post because I needed her to be there. I had to have someone [to give me] confidence.

“To be here now, to play in a stadium like this in front of this crowd against the No. 1 in the world, for sure it's something great for me.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Niccolo no longer plays tennis — he plays volleyball for fun. His sister, Julia, was a swimmer. His parents didn’t play tennis. But because one sibling stepped on the court, Nardi fell in love with the sport.

The No. 105 player in the PIF ATP Live Rankings, who is close to cracking the world’s Top 100 for the first time, shows the fans how much he enjoys the sport with his playing style.

“When I'm on the court I like to play very aggressively and maybe that can be entertaining for the crowd. I don't like to be boring on the court,” Nardi said. “I hope that the people can enjoy watching my matches and that's the only thing that I can say when I'm on the court. [Off court] I'm a normal guy, very easy.”

Nardi has shown that he welcomes a challenge in the past. His only previous match against a Top 10 opponent came two years ago in Kazakhstan, where he pushed Stefanos Tsitsipas to two tie-breaks.

“I learned that with a player of that kind of level, I cannot lose any points without being focussed,” Nardi said. “I have to be very focused on every point, on every shot that I make when I make a shot. For sure, it will be even more on Monday against Djokovic. I will try my best and let's see what happens.”

Read More News View All News

View Related Videos View All Videos


Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store

Premier Partner

Platinum Partners

Gold Partners

Official Ball, Racquet and Tennis Accessory

Official Partners & Suppliers