Novak Djokovic controversy: US Open line judge hit by ball receives death threats after tennis star disqualified
A lineswoman who was accidentally hit by Novak Djokovic’s tennis ball on Sunday, September 7, has found herself embroiled in controversy after the world’s No. 1 Tennis player was disqualified from the US Open. Laura Clark has received numerous abusive messages on social media after Djokovic’s fans found her Instagram page.
The US Open line judge was present during the Sunday game when her throat got struck by the tennis ball of the 33-year-old, who was reportedly frustrated after the first set of his match against Carreno Busta. The hit left the Owensboro resident seemingly in considerable pain before Djokovic immediately checked on her. Soon after the incident, US Open released a statement stating that “because he has 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."
But the fans of the Serbian player blamed Clark for his disqualification and spammed her Instagram account with abusive messages. They even commented on a post that was dedicated to her deceased son, who died at the age of 25 in 2008 from a bicycle accident. The post included a picture of Josh with a message that read: “Words cannot describe how much I miss my baby boy. I have no doubt that today, on his 37th birthday, Josh is watching over Zane and smiling down at all of us who loved him❤️. Happy Birthday, sweet Joshua. Love, Mom.”
Commenting on the post, one user insensitively wrote, “Don't worry, you'll join him soon”, another said, “hahahahahahahaha YEEEEES, YEEEEEEEES.” Some even called her “sick” and “alcoholic”. “You can drink liters of alcohol but cannot survive small tennis ball?? Bad acting. Shameless,” a person commented on one of her posts which was promoting a wine company.
According to reports, Clark loves tennis and has worked her way up from junior and college tournaments to work at big events, like the US Open and Davis Cup. Besides her lineswoman job, she has also worked as an umpire and refereed tournament matches. She has reportedly once said that officiating tennis is "not something you are going to make a huge amount of money doing" – but claimed that "I would do it for free."
Meanwhile, after the incident, Djokovic issued an apology on social media that stated: 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. 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 for the @usopen tournament and everyone associated with 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.”