Djokovic breaks silence after US Open default for hitting line judge with a ball

Novak Djokovic apoloised for his actions at the US Open after he was defaulted for hitting a balls at a line judge and said the situation had left him feeling ‘sad and empty’.

Djokovic, the world No. 1 from Serbia, was the heavy tournament favourite and the only remaining man left in the draw who had won a Grand Slam title.

Indeed, he was tipped to win his 18th, which would have drawn him ever closer to Roger Federer’s all-time record of 20 majors.

But disaster struck. In the most extraordinary circumstances, Djokovic was defauted from the tournament.

After being broken by Carreno Busta in the 11th game of the opening set, he hit a ball in frustration that flew straight into the throat of a linesperson.

The rules are clear, there was no choice but for tournament officials to default him and Djokovic’s 26-match winning streak was brought to a halt in the most dramatic of fashions – despite him pleading his case on court.

Djokovic fled from the scene, refusing to carry out his post-match media duties – for which he will face a fine – but instead released a statement.

‘This whole situation has left me really sad and empty,’ Djokovic posted on Instagram. ‘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.

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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.

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‘I apologise to the US Open tournament and everyone associated for my behaviour. 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.’

A statement from the tournament read: ‘In accordance with the Grand Slam rulebook, following his actions of intentionally hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences, the US Open tournament referee defaulted Novak Djokovic from the 2020 US Open.

‘Because he was defaulted, Djokovic will lose all ranking points earned at the US Open and will be fined the prize money won at the tournament in addition to any or all fines levied with respect to the offending incident.’

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