US Open: Novak Djokovic disqualified for hitting lineswoman with ball, Internet claims 'it was an accident'

The world's No. 1 tennis player was defaulted in the fourth round after hitting a ball in frustration, which struck the throat of the lineswoman who seemed to have trouble breathing


                            US Open: Novak Djokovic disqualified for hitting lineswoman with ball, Internet claims 'it was an accident'
Novak Djokovic (Getty Images)

The 2020 US Open will see a winner besides Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the 17 Grand Slam singles titles winner Djokovic was defaulted from the tournament after striking a line judge with a ball on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The world’s No. 1 Tennis player was defaulted in the fourth round after hitting a ball in frustration, which struck the throat of the lineswoman, who seemed to have trouble breathing, according to CBS Sports. 

Videos from the incident that took place on September 7 show Djokovic hitting the ball intentionally, reportedly out of “frustration” after the first set of his match against Carreno Busta, who had broken the former’s serve at 5-5. It is also said that it was the second time in a single day when the player hit the ball in frustration. However, after realizing that he had accidentally hurt the linesperson, Djokovic left the court immediately to check on her. 

US Open released a statement soon after Djokovic was defaulted and declared that he was “defaulted” for intentionally hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences". The statement further reads, "Because he was defaulted, Djokovic will lose all ranking points earned at the US Open and will be fined prize money won at the tournament in addition to any or all fines levied with respect to the offending incident."

Djokovic took to Instagram to issue an apology statement, in which he's noted that he would be working on his “disappointment” and wishes for this incident to “turn this into a lesson” for his “growth and evolution”. He wrote, "This whole situation has left me really 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." In the following statement, he apologized to the US tournament for is “behavior” and thanked his family, fans and friends for their support. 

Meanwhile, tennis writer Ben Rothenberg, according to CBS Sports, has claimed that Djokovic tried to “downplay” the incident on the court, reportedly saying "she doesn't have to go to the hospital for this".

His disqualification has left the internet divided, as some have spoken in favor of the player saying "he didn't do it on purpose", while some have opined that it wasn't accidental. 

One Twitter user noted, "Clearly it was accidental. Why would they disqualify someone over an accident. He realized it right after it happened and walked over. It’s a sport with balls that fly... someone’s bound to get hit by one eventually. Can you say accident."

While another noted, "Wait... for it to be an accident, why’d he hit the ball in that direction?? what was he trying to accomplish."



 



 

Meanwhile, the majority of his fans have come to his defense saying he didn't deserve such a harsh punishment for his latest actions that "were not intentional". One wrote, "Really stupid reason to eject someone. It wasn't on purpose. Why don't we eject a player then, if he/she walks past a judge or a ball boy/girl and accidentally shoulder bumps that person? And if a ball boy/girl accidentally hits a player with a ball, eject 'em too?"



 

Another added, "It was an accident and he seemed really concerned once he realised, I don’t think it’s fair to disqualify him."