17-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic has been disqualified from the US Open 4th round for inappropriate behaviour.
Footage from the scene shows Djokovic hitting a line judge aggressively with a tennis ball, after which she falls to the ground reaching for her neck. Djokovic looks shocked at first before he heads towards the woman.
Novak Djokovic defaulted from US Open for this....right decision? Or over reaction?— James Green (@JamesGreenInUK) September 6, 2020
Djokovic was trailing 6:5 in the opening set against Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.
After the incident happened, Djokovic had a discussion with officials on court, then the chair umpire announced the default. According to the New York Times, Djokovic argued against his disqualification, saying that the judge did not have to go to hospital after being hit. However, later, Djokovic said he was "extremely sorry", adding that the situation left him "really sad and empty".
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This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok. I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong. I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy. As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being. I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behavior. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry. Cela ova situacija me čini zaista tužnim i praznim. Proverio sam kako se oseća linijski sudija, i prema informacijama koje sam dobio, oseća se dobro, hvala Bogu. Njeno ime ne mogu da otkrijem zbog očuvanja njene privatnosti. Jako mi je žao što sam joj naneo takav stres. Nije bilo namerno. Bilo je pogrešno. Želim da ovo neprijatno iskustvo, diskvalifikaciju sa turnira, pretvorim u važnu životnu lekciju, kako bih nastavio da rastem i razvijam se kao čovek, ali i teniser. Izvinjavam se organizatorima US Opena. Veoma sam zahvalan svom timu i porodici što mi pružaju snažnu podršku, kao i mojim navijačima jer su uvek uz mene. Hvala vam i žao mi je. Bio je ovo težak dan za sve.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said Djokovic will lose all his ranking points and will be fined prize money earned in the tournament, in addition to other fines related to the incident.
Djokovic's disqualification means a maiden grand slam champion in men's singles will appear on the US Open for the first time since 2014.