On September 6, Novak Djokovic was disqualified in the fourth round of the 2020 US Open. The event happened on September 5, where he was alleged to hit a ball out of frustration, and that struck a line judge. The mishap occurred at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. The line judge hurt her throat and was not being able to breathe.
Novak Djokovic has been a champion of the Grand Slam for 17 times. His career has been on the top in the US Open. However, after the incident, he was disqualified from the tournament. Here is the video that shows what happened:
Djokovic disqualified from #USopen after accidentally striking a lineswoman with a tennis ball pic.twitter.com/Z0ARInXWCL
— Mohamed Hashem (@mhashem_) September 6, 2020
Soon after the incident, the US open released a tweet announcing that the player had been disqualified for this season:
USTA statement on default of Novak Djokovic: pic.twitter.com/dqlt0mokg9
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 6, 2020
Why Novak Djokovic was disqualified from 2020 US Open
The decision was clear within several minutes from the time the Novak Djokovic pleaded for himself. He said he didn’t intend to judge. This was the second time when he had thrown a ball in frustration. The one happened when he was in a match against player Pablo Carreño Busta. Busta had broken the serve by 5-5 and moved to the quarterfinals.
Once the match was halted, Pablo Carreño Busta reported that he was shocked to see what he did. He said he didn’t expect that after a moment of playing against Djokovic, this could happen. While the decision was being taken, Busta continued playing thinking that they will eventually play again.
A few hours after the incident happened, Djokovic posted an apology on Instagram. He wrote it for the line judge at the US Open saying:
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.
Ben Rothenberg, a tennis writer, said Djokovic was trying to downplay the mishap that happened in the court. He said that the woman doesn’t deserve to get hospitalized because of this.
Novak Djokovic is famous for being a demonstrative player in the court. His moments of frustration aren’t new. He was also asked about the moments of frustration he showed during the 2016 ATP Tour Finals. He got defensive at that time while speaking about it too.
#1 Novak Djokovic gets DEFAULTED from #USOpen after a ball he hit in anger struck a lineswoman in head/neck and she fell to ground.
Djokovic pleaded his case for many minutes, but to no avail.
Djokovic was undefeated in 2020 to this point.
Rules are clear, but holy wow.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 6, 2020
Reasons why his disqualification is legit
As per USTA Officiating: Scenarios and Interpretations guidelines, what Novak Djokovic did is called “ball abuse.” This can happen when a ball is being deliberately hit, thrown or kicked:
- not during a play but it hits a person
- not during a game but goes out of play area
- in a manner that it hurts a person when not in play
- in a manner that it comes close to a person to cause harm
Because of these circumstances, Djokovic has been disqualified from the tournament. This makes the US Open have a first-time Grand Slam winner. Moreover, a Grand Slam winner that isn’t Novak, Rafael Nadal, or Roger Federer.