Novak Djokovic has fled from the US Open after being defaulted for hitting a tennis ball at a linesperson.
In a extraordinary incident Djokovic was broken by Pablo Carreno Busta to fall 6-5 down in the first set and he reacted by hitting a ball towards the back of the court in frustration.
But the ball hit a lineswoman in the throat and she collapsed to the ground in distress.
Djokovic immediately approached the woman to apologise and after speaking with tournament officials he was defaulted from the match.
The world No 1 was expected to have a press conference to discuss what happened but footage showed him leaving the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in a car.
And he will now be fined for not speaking to the media.
In a statement, the US Open said: “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.”
After beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Alexander Zverev spoke out about the incident with Djokovic.
He said: “I mean, look, it’s unfortunate. He hit a ball, he hit a tennis ball.
“It’s very unfortunate that, you know, he hit the line judge, and especially where it hit her.
“Yeah, there is a rule in place for it. I think the supervisors and all of them are just doing their job. But, yeah, very unlucky for Novak.
“I think he’s going to be a little bit upset about it, but, yeah. He could have — if he would have hit it anywhere else, if it would have landed anywhere else, we are talking about a few inches, he would have been fine.
“So, yeah, very unlucky.”
Martina Navratilova said on Twitter: “Unbelievable what just happened on the court at the @usopen – Novak Djokovic defaulted for inadvertently but stupidly hitting a lineswoman in the throat with a ball and the officials had no choice but to default. Wow.
“Glad the woman is ok- we must do better than that.”
Billie Jean King added: “Here are my thoughts on the Novak Djokovic default. First I hope the line judge is okay.
“The rule is the rule. It is unfortunate for everyone involved, but in this specific situation the default was the right call.”
Published at Sun, 06 Sep 2020 21:10:00 +0000