World No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic is out of the U.S. Open via a disqualification after he struck a ball out of frustration that inadvertently hit the line judge in the throat.
“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,” the US Open said in a statement on Sunday. “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.”
Watch Djokovic angrily swat the ball toward the line judge:
— ESPN (@espn) September 6, 2020
Djokovic was in pursuit of his 18th grand slam title, which would’ve put him one behind Rafael Nadal and two behind Roger Federer for most all-time. He first argued that the woman had not been hurt, but later tweeted an apology, saying the whole situation has left him sad and empty:
This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person 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… https://t.co/UL4hWEirWL
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) September 6, 2020
Turns out, the line judge, Laura Clark, is from Owensboro, Kentucky, and according to the DailyMail, she has been bombarded with nasty messages and comments on Instagram. I guess Djokovic fans want her to be better at taking a tennis ball to the neck?