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Novak Djokovic disqualified from the US open

No joke, Novak Djokovic has been disqualified from the US open for volleying a tennis ball towards an official. In a moment of frustration, Novak Djokovic has ruined his chances of winning an astounding 18th grand slam.

Djokovic attending to the official (Source: Orange County Register)

Facing Pablo Carreño Busta, the Serb was trailing 6-5 in the first set. Heading towards a seat with a break down, Djokovic intended to give the ball towards the ball boy for Pablo’s service game, yet unfortunately Djokovic struck the ball directly at the throat of the baseline official. The moment was interpreted as an act of disappointment and frustration by the 17-time grand slam winner, for whom flashes of anger where common, amidst a difficult US open.

Yet, Djokovic claims innocence. After initially pleading that the woman was not seriously hurt, Djokovic eventually walked off and later apologised for 'causing her such stress', saying his swipe was 'so unintended, so wrong'. Many fans were also sympathetic towards the Serb, as the replay illustrated the unintentional nature of the scenario. Yet, US open officials engaged in 10-minute discussion with Djokovic over his actions with tournament referee Soeren Friemel, Grand Slam supervisor Andreas Egli and chair umpire Aurelie Tourte, hearing Djokovic’s passionate plea.

However, the decision was unfortunately not in the contenders favour. “His point was that he didn’t hit the line umpire intentionally. He said, ‘Yes, I was angry. I hit the ball. I hit the line umpire. The facts are very clear. But it wasn’t my intent. I didn’t do it on purpose.’ So he said he shouldn’t be defaulted for it,” said Friemel, who made the decision to end the match. “And we all agree that he didn’t do it on purpose, but the facts are still that he hit the line umpire and the line umpire was clearly hurt.”

Friemel didn’t see what happened, and said he was not allowed to check a video replay, but was given a rundown by Egli and Tourte. Friemel said that even if Djokovic didn’t intend to hurt the line judge, she was hurt, and that was enough to merit the ruling.

Eventually, Djokovic walked over to shake hands with Carreño Busta. Tourte then announced that Djokovic was defaulted, the tennis equivalent of an ejection.

“I was a little bit in shock, no?” Carreño Busta said later at a news conference done via video conference because of social-distancing rules at the US Open, the first Grand Slam tournament staged amid the pandemic.

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