In what was more a matter of when than if, Novak Djokovic stands suspended from the US Open for accidentally hitting a lineswoman with the ball.
The incident happened during the first set of his fourth round match against P. Carreño Busta.
After conceding a point, an angry Djokovic threw the ball towards the back of the court and ended up hitting the elderly lineswoman directly on the throat.
The match, 6-5 in Busta’s favour at that point, was ended right then and Djokovic was shown the way out of the tournament.
Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 seed in the men’s draw, was disqualified from the U.S. Open after accidentally striking a lineswoman with a ball hit in frustration. https://t.co/ecmAMI2Gmd
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 6, 2020
The world number 1 tried hard to convince the ground umpire and said that he didn’t intend to hurt anyone.
He also apparently said that she doesn’t have to ‘go to the hospital’.
None of those arguments worked, because ‘intention’ is only one of the parameters considered before handing suspension to a player. And rightfully so.
Here’s the thing, express intent *does not* matter.
The rules are clear. There is
1) intent OR
2) recklessness OR
— Ash Marshall (@AMarshallSport) September 6, 2020
Obviously, this is as controversial as things can get, and the news has been trending all over the world since last night. Here are some of the reactions:
Novak Djokovic has been defaulted from 2020 US Open.
-Staying calm is highly important even if you are already at the top
-Never led your disappointment turn into Anger
-Just a second of reaction has power to change your life for good or bad
Courtesy: SM pic.twitter.com/IQ9WWYasRZ
— Awanish Sharan (@AwanishSharan) September 7, 2020
Now, this was more or less Djokovic’s US Open, considering both Nadal and Federer are not participating. With the Serbian’s disqualification, the other two tennis legends’ names started trending too.
— Neil McLeman (@NeilMcLeman) September 6, 2020
The last Grand Slam without any of Djokovic, Federer or Nadal in the semifinals was the 2004 French Open. Those semifinalists:
David Nalbandian pic.twitter.com/yJ3PrRhYwR
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) September 6, 2020
And so the streak of the Big 3 — Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic — comes to an end in a bizarre way. Novak has been defaulted. Roger & Rafa aren’t playing.
No other player has won a major since 2016.
This trio won 56 of the last 67 majors since Wimbledon in 2003. https://t.co/ZWuWLLCmN4
— Brit McCandless Farmer (@thebritfarmer) September 6, 2020
Meanwhile Djokovic has issued an apology on Instagram, stating again that what he did was unintentional.
View this post on Instagram
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. I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy. 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. Cela ova situacija me čini zaista tužnim i praznim. Proverio sam kako se oseća linijski sudija, i prema informacijama koje sam dobio, oseća se dobro, hvala Bogu. Njeno ime ne mogu da otkrijem zbog očuvanja njene privatnosti. Jako mi je žao što sam joj naneo takav stres. Nije bilo namerno. Bilo je pogrešno. Želim da ovo neprijatno iskustvo, diskvalifikaciju sa turnira, pretvorim u važnu životnu lekciju, kako bih nastavio da rastem i razvijam se kao čovek, ali i teniser. Izvinjavam se organizatorima US Opena. Veoma sam zahvalan svom timu i porodici što mi pružaju snažnu podršku, kao i mojim navijačima jer su uvek uz mene. Hvala vam i žao mi je. Bio je ovo težak dan za sve.
Too much to unpack here but the bottom line is, that rules don’t change for anyone.
As far as the predictability of this is concerned, Djokovic and recklessness have been going hand-in-hand for a while, so who’s surprised?