Novak Djokovic defaulted to Pablo Carreno Busta on Sunday during their Round of 16 match at the U.S. Open after unintentionally hitting a line judge with a ball.
After losing his serve, the world No. 1 hit a ball in anger and struck the official in the throat.
Djokovic did not strike the ball hard or deliberately, but he was clearly frustrated. The line judge shouted out in pain and fell down.
Oh my god, Djokovic got disqualified from the US Open.pic.twitter.com/yCo3Lqw0tg— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 6, 2020
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Djokovic's expression after the ball hit the woman made it appear unintentional.
Djokovic just hit a lines person in the neck with an errant ball after losing a point. And I think he knew it. Yikes. pic.twitter.com/05iVUtpQ0Z— thehojo (@thehojo) September 6, 2020
After realizing the situation, Djokovic had a long conversation with a tournament official and pleaded his case as the line judge was taken out for medical treatment.
"She doesn't have to go to the hospital for this." -Djokovic trying to downplay the effects of hitting the lineswoman, saying she wasn't seriously injured.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 6, 2020
"You're going to choose a default in this situation? My career, grand slam, center stage"#USOpen
It was soon decided that Djokovic would be disqualified and would have to wait to obtain his 18th career Grand Slam title.
The United States Tennis Association later released a statement that read:
"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.
"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."
Novak Djokovic was just defaulted from the US Open, due to him hitting a tennis ball in anger and striking a lines person in the throat.— M-san (@meguriai05) September 6, 2020
After deliberation with the tournament referee, as the lines person was taken out for medical treatment, Novak's match was forfeited. pic.twitter.com/nC26YwrNZf
Not long after the match was called, ESPN showed video of Djokovic getting into a car and leaving the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. By not addressing the media, he also faces a $20,000 fine per the 2020 Official Grand Slam Rule Book.
The year 2020 has been weird — and it keeps getting weirder.