Despite Djokovic’s pleadings that he had not meant to hit the official, he was eventually disqualified
World number one Novak Djokovic was sensationally disqualified in the U.S. Open fourth round on Sunday after striking a line judge with a ball following a point during the first set of his match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.
Djokovic was becoming frustrated after failing to take the opening set and suffering a fall and having dropped serve to trail 5-6, he hit a ball reasonably hard to the back of the court, striking a female line judge.
He immediately apologised and stood over her before becoming involved in a lengthy exchange with the tournament referee.
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Under the rules of the game there is no option other than a default and despite Djokovic’s pleadings that he had not meant to hit the official, he was eventually disqualified.
Djokovic shook hands with a stunned Carreno Busta and trudged off to face the music.
It was an incredible end to the top seed’s hopes of winning an 18th Grand Slam title — something that had looked increasingly likely as the fortnight progressed.
“It’s the right decision,” Tim Henman, who was disqualified from Wimbledon for a similar incident in 1995, told Amazon Prime. “He is not aiming for the line judge, but has hit the ball away and you have to be responsible for your actions.”