New York: World Number one Novak Djokovic was disqualified in the fourth round of the U.S. Open 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 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 above the shoulders.
He immediately went, apologised and stood over her as she appeared in distress on the floor.
"there's no way Novak Djokovic can possibly look any worse this year"
— Eoin Sheahan (@EoinSheahan) September 6, 2020
Tournament referee Soeren Friemel then came out on to the Arthur Ashe Stadium and spoke to chair umpire Aurelie Tourte before a lengthy discussion with the 33-year-old.
The three-time U.S.Open winner was clearly making the point that he had not intended to hit the official but under the rules of tennis his fate was already sealed.
The Grand Slam rules state: “Players shall not at any time physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or another person within the precincts of the tournament site.
Despite his pleadings, Djokovic was eventually disqualified before walking over to shake hands with a stunned Carreno Busta and trudging 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.