In what was more a matter of when than if, Novak Djokovic stands suspended from the US Open for accidentally hitting a lineswoman with the ball.
The incident happened during the first set of his fourth round match against P. Carreño Busta.
Novak Djokovic (-125), the #1 seed in the tournament just got defaulted from the US Open after hitting the line judge in the neck pic.twitter.com/dvJQgLPFfA— Barstool Bets (@barstoolbets) September 6, 2020
After conceding a point, an angry Djokovic threw the ball towards the back of the court and ended up hitting the elderly lineswoman directly on the throat.
The match, 6-5 in Busta's favour at that point, was ended right then and Djokovic was shown the way out of the tournament.
Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 seed in the men’s draw, was disqualified from the U.S. Open after accidentally striking a lineswoman with a ball hit in frustration. https://t.co/ecmAMI2Gmd— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 6, 2020
The world number 1 tried hard to convince the ground umpire and said that he didn't intend to hurt anyone.
He also apparently said that she doesn't have to 'go to the hospital'.
None of those arguments worked, because 'intention' is only one of the parameters considered before handing suspension to a player. And rightfully so.
USTA statement on default of Novak Djokovic: pic.twitter.com/dqlt0mokg9— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 6, 2020
Here’s the thing, express intent *does not* matter.— Ash Marshall (@AMarshallSport) September 6, 2020
The rules are clear. There is
1) intent OR
2) recklessness OR
This was a case of negligent disregard and, as such, doesn’t need explicit intent, as you might normally define it. https://t.co/F0OTv81eob pic.twitter.com/eb2h1uzfLF
Obviously, this is as controversial as things can get, and the news has been trending all over the world since last night. Here are some of the reactions:
This clip certainly isn’t helping Novak Djokovic today. It’s from 2016. pic.twitter.com/7bNBw3G9pe— Jenny Brockie (@JenBrockie) September 7, 2020
This was the French Open 2016 incident pic.twitter.com/dIQxEEnyDV— Nikhila (@kokudum) September 6, 2020
Novak Djokovic has been defaulted from 2020 US Open.— Awanish Sharan (@AwanishSharan) September 7, 2020
-Staying calm is highly important even if you are already at the top
-Never led your disappointment turn into Anger
-Just a second of reaction has power to change your life for good or bad
Courtesy: SM pic.twitter.com/IQ9WWYasRZ
Now, this was more or less Djokovic's US Open, considering both Nadal and Federer are not participating. With the Serbian's disqualification, the other two tennis legends' names started trending too.
The last Grand Slam without any of Djokovic, Federer or Nadal in the semifinals was the 2004 French Open. Those semifinalists:— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) September 6, 2020
David Nalbandian pic.twitter.com/yJ3PrRhYwR
And so the streak of the Big 3 -- Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic -- comes to an end in a bizarre way. Novak has been defaulted. Roger & Rafa aren't playing.— Brit McCandless Farmer (@thebritfarmer) September 6, 2020
No other player has won a major since 2016.
This trio won 56 of the last 67 majors since Wimbledon in 2003. https://t.co/ZWuWLLCmN4
Meanwhile Djokovic has issued an apology on Instagram, stating again that what he did was unintentional.
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.