Novak Djokovic has been disqualified from the US Open after hitting a line judge with the ball.
The world No 1 had just dropped his serve to trail opponent Pablo Carreno Busta 6-5 in the opening set of their fourth-round match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
He hit a ball behind him in frustration and it struck a female line judge. After the ball was struck, it was immediately clear that she was hurt and the Serb rushed over to check on her condition.
Tournament referee Soeren Friemel came out on to the court and spoke to chair umpire Aurelie Tourte and Andreas Egli, the Grand Slam supervisor, before a lengthy discussion between tournament officials and Djokovic.
He pleaded his case at length before accepting his fate, collecting his rackets and walking off the court.
“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”.USTA statement on default of Novak Djokovic
Djokovic will face another fine for not doing his press conference. Soon after the incident, the 33-year-old was pictured getting into a black Tesla car and leaving Flushing Meadows.
Djokovic later apologised in a statement on Instagram, saying: “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 apologise to the @usopen 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.”