AGENCIES, Flushing Meadows: Temperamental Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic was sensationally disqualified from the US Open on Sunday night after he smash the ball at a lineswoman.
Djokovic was a favourite for the tournament, but the 33 year-old Serb had been showing signs at frustration at the resistance being put up by Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta when he was broken for 5-6 in the opening set.
Referee Soren Friemel was brought onto court inside New York’s giant, deserted Arthur Ashe Stadium by umpire Aurelie Tourte. Djokovic was informed that due to the incident there was no option but to default him from a tournament.
Djokovic pleaded his case and could be heard arguing his case, all to no avail. “She doesn’t have to go to the hospital for this,’ he said as he stood at the net, a shocked look on his face. You’re going to choose a default in this situation? My career, Grand Slam, centre stage?”
The video shows, while clearly not aiming for her, the ball hit the official, who keeled over. The rules are quite clear: he had to go. The lineswoman was seen clutching her throat and having problems breathing.
The umpire said: “His point was that he didn’t hit the line umpire intentionally. He said, ‘Yes, I was angry. I hit the ball. I hit the line umpire. The facts are very clear. But it wasn’t my intent. I didn’t do it on purpose.’ So he said he shouldn’t be defaulted for it,” said Friemel, who made the decision to end the match. “And we all agree that he didn’t do it on purpose, but the facts are still that he hit the line umpire and the line umpire was clearly hurt.”
Taking to Twitter, Djokovic wrote, 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 US Open Tennis Championships 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.”