Novak Djokovic has issued an apology after he defaulted from his round of 16 match and was kicked out of the U.S. Open after accidentally hitting a line umpire with a ball.
In the first set of his match against Pablo Carreno Busta, Djokovic, who seemed frustrated throughout the match, hit a ball after a point toward the backboard of Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The ball then struck a line umpire, causing her to collapse. ESPN reported Sunday evening that the line umpire has a bruise on her throat and is resting comfortably at the officials’ hotel.
A statement by the U.S. Tennis Association revealed, “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 U.S. Open tournament referee defaulted Novak Djokovic from the 2020 U.S. Open.”
Djokovic, in an apology on social media, seemed remorseful and upset.
“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 wrong,” he wrote.
“As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being. I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behavior. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry,” he added.
The USTA said that Djokovic will lose all ranking points he earned at the Open and will be fined the prize money won at the tournament and could face future fines because of the incident.
Djokovic now faces a possible $10,000 fine for the incident. However, his intent was taken into consideration when it came to the fine, as experts say the fine might have been higher if the hit had been deliberate.
This year’s U.S. Open will now be the first time since 2014 that the men’s singles title will go to a first-time winner. The disqualification also breaks Djokovic’s streak of 26 winning matches this year.