Djokovic Disqualified From U.S. Open After Judge-Hitting Accident
Most professional athletes personally regret losing their cool and lashing out in the middle of official games but this time, officials of the U.S. Open literally gave Novak Djokovic something to deeply regret.
Reuters reports that the World No. 1 tennis player has been disqualified from the tournament after his little outburst sent a ball flying straight to a line judge’s throat.
It was a tough match on Sunday between Djokovic and Spain’s unseeded Pablo Carreno Busta.
The three-time U.S. Open champion could feel the first set of his match slipping away after he gave away three set points before suffering a fall. Having squandered serve to fall back 5-6, he took a ball and smacked it toward the backcourt, inadvertently hitting a lineswoman considerably hard.
Upon realizing what had happened, Novak quickly approached the official to apologize, and then the referee to plead his case.
But the damage has been done: referee Soeren Friemel decided to default the game, and disqualify the Serb from the contest.
Hindsight: Always 20/20
“This whole situation has left me really sad and empty,” the 33-year-old wrote on Instagram. I checked on the linesperson 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.”
It was a climactic end to the top seed’s 18th Grand Slam hopes, though not in the way he or his fans dreamed of.
As pointed out by the New York Times, the incident likewise brought an end to the Serb’s 26-0 win streak since the start of the year.
To make matter worse, he will have to cough up his round four prize money of $250,000, on top of any levies he might be slapped with for the violation.
Not Novak’s Year
As terrible as the incident might have been, this has just been the cherry on top of Djokovic’s horrible year.
Some of his most infamous misadventures include coming out as a ‘semi’ anti-vaxxer, organizing an exhibition tournament that spread the coronavirus to several people including himself, and coming under fire for his ‘diversionary’ move to form a potential breakaway players’ tournament.
At the very least, with his tournament scheduled cleared for the meantime, the world champion will have all the time in the world to think about the way he’s been living this year. He knows just as much:
“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.”