A winning streak for the US Open Number One seed Novak Djokovic has ended abruptly after he “accidentally” hit a line judge with a ball right in the throat. The incident earned the Serb a disqualification.
The game against Pablo Carreno Busta did not go well for the men’s number-one tennis player; Djokovic was trailing 5-6 in the first set in the fourth round. He lost his own serve after being treated for pain in the left shoulder.
The Serbian star then took a ball from his pocket and, with his racket, sent it flying towards the back of the court, seemingly out of frustration. The ball ended up hitting a lineswoman, who was standing behind him, in the throat.
The woman fell to the ground and Djokovic, apparently shocked, rushed to check on her condition.
Following a lengthy discussion with the tournament referee Soeren Friemel, Djokovic was disqualified. Tennis rules state that players cannot “physically abuse” any official, opponent or spectator at the tournament site, and the judges did not have to consider whether it was an unintentional mistake. But although the decision was formally in accordance with rules, many tennis fans reacted in disbelief, saying it was too strict.
In all my years of watching sport, I’ve never seen a more disgraceful decision than this.. You can tell from Djokovic’s reaction straight away it was an accident!! https://t.co/zGEnYqPiBY
— Sadio Manny (@MSJ_LFC) September 6, 2020
Just seen the Djokovic incident… clearly unintentional and was apologetic from the second he realised what he had done. Disqualification seems a bit harsh??
— Tim Shires (@timshires) September 6, 2020
Some even questioned whether the lineswoman overreacted.
However, there were also those who criticized the flamboyant player, saying the incident was consistent with his habit of launching “wild balls” on court.
Awful to see an official hurt, but I’ve seen Djokovic do the same thing so many times and narrowly miss an official with a wild ball. Glad he’s finally been punished for his temper. Tho of course he tried to talk his way out of it because the rules couldn’t possibly apply to him.
— Ricky McFadden (@rickyjmcfadden) September 6, 2020
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