Novak Djokovic was sensationally disqualified from the US Open 2020 on Sunday after he strikes a ball in the direction of a line judge during his last-16 match.
The world number one went 5-6 down in the first set to Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta when he hit a ball towards a female official which struck her in the throat and she could be heard gasping. The Serbian star rushed over to check that she was okay. After a few minutes the line judge got up and she walked off the court.
Following around ten minutes of discussions with the tournament referee, the umpire declared that Carreno Busta had won by default. Djokovic shook hands with Carreno Busta before leaving the court.
Novak was hoping to close the gap between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who are absent from the tournament.
Djokovic is on 17, with Nadal on 19 and Federer on 20.
Novak Djokovic is one of only a handful of players to be disqualified from a men’s singles tournament at a Grand Slam since John McEnroe was infamously tossed from the Australian Open in 1990.
Later, he posted a long note on Instagram:
This whole situation has left me sad and empty. 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. 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.