World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has been disqualified from the US open after accidentally striking a female official in the throat with a tennis ball.
It’s a sad day for tennis star and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Set for his 18th Grand Slam title following a stunning 26-game winning streak, the Serbian sportsman did a whoopsie and clocked a female linesperson straight in the throat with a tennis ball.
The accidental but brutal shot will see Djokovic disqualified from the US open and all his prize money seized.
The whole thing, caught live on television, occurred when the World No. 1 lost a game to 20th seed Spanish tennis star, Carreno Busta, leaving him 5-6 down in the first set. A frustrated Djokovic had already failed to secure three set points in the previous game.
Changing-over, Djokovic clocked a ball behind him and it hit a female line judge in the throat – and the footage is brutal. The woman, in shock, raises her hands to her throat and drops to her knees at the back of the court.
Djokovic disqualified from the US Open for hitting a line judge in the face with a tennis ball pic.twitter.com/mpafwm1ODL
— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) September 6, 2020
Obviously, the game immediately paused and Djokovic went to her side to help her. God Bless. After a discussion of several minutes with officials, Djokovic shook hands with Carreno Busta and the latter was announced as the default winner.
According to the rulebook, Djokovic will also be forced to lose all ranking points earned at the US Open and any prize money won thus far at the tournament. He may also face additional fines for the specific ball-to-throat incident. The Serbian tennis star left the precinct without speaking to the media.
Prior to this, the three-time US Open champion was the clear favourite in absence of other big players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic has since apologised in an Instagram statement, with the star saying his disqualification makes him feel “sad and empty,” and that he hopes the line official “is feeling okay.” He went onto say he was “sorry to have caused her such stress,” describing his actions as “unintended” and “wrong.”
View this post on Instagram
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.
Twitter is divided on the matter. Some are critical of the reaction by the line official, saying that maybe she over-reacted.
How the Line Judge acted when Novak Djokovic hit her with the tennis ball. pic.twitter.com/oO9OuuOX78
— Derek Cortez (@DereKYblacc) September 6, 2020
Other posts have pointed out the hilarious fact that no-one can beat the World No. 1, except… himself?
Who would guessed, the first player to beat Djokovic in 2020 would be…Djokovic
— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) September 6, 2020
— Tennis Memes (@ATPWTAMemes) September 6, 2020
Many think this whole thing radiates Nick Kyrgios energy. If you don’t know the name, basically he is an Australian tennis star often accused of being a bad sport, notorious for chucking rackets, and cussing out officials when the game doesn’t go his way.
Kyrgios took to Twitter, implying that if it was him, rather than Serbian favourite Djokovic, who had struck a female line assistant, the reaction would be much harsher:
Swap me for jokers incident. ‘Accidentally hitting the ball kid in the throat’ how many years would I be banned for?
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 6, 2020
Twitter seems to agree:
The limit does not exist pic.twitter.com/buy1jlZa17
— Joan Carol Clayton (@LadyInBlu_8) September 6, 2020