By Arré Bench Sep. 07, 2020
A moment of frustration is all it took for Novak Djokovic’s unceremonious exit from the US Open. After losing a number of potential break points, the irritated Serb smacked a ball to the back of the court, where it inadvertently struck a line judge in the throat, bringing her to her knees.
A professional sports career is always accompanied by a number of highs and lows — big wins, as well as moments of frustration that get the better of even the best of athletes. On Sunday night, World No 1 Novak Djokovic had one such moment of frustration that led to his disqualification from the US Open.
After losing a number of potential break points in a row, a visibly irritated Djokovic smacked a ball to the back of the court, where it inadvertently struck a line judge in the throat, bringing the official to her knees.
Oh my god, Djokovic got disqualified from the US Open.pic.twitter.com/yCo3Lqw0tg
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 6, 2020
Novak Djokovic immediately rushed over to check on the official, and apologised, but the damage had been done. The tournament’s referee Soeren Friemel soon came on to the court, who spoke with the US Open’s supervisor, the chair umpire, and the 33-year-old Serbian player. After 12 long minutes, during which the three-time US Open champion argued that the official he struck “didn’t have to go to hospital”, he was disqualified.
As the rules state, “Players shall not at any time physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site.”
It’s pretty clear Djokovic didn’t mean to hit that linesperson. It’s also pretty clear he shouldn’t have smacked a ball in anger without looking where it was going. This isn’t complicated. If you’re a professional, act like it.#USOpen
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) September 7, 2020
After a quick handshake with the official he struck, Djokovic left the stadium along with his “shocked” opponent Pablo Carreno Busta. Later, in an Instagram post, the Serb said the incident had left him feeling sad and empty, and that it was both unintended and wrong on his part.