World number one Novak Djokovic was sensationally disqualified in the US Open fourth round on Sunday (Sept 6) after striking a line judge with a ball following a point during the first set of his match against Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.
Top seed Djokovic was 26-0 in 2020 before the fourth-round clash, and his departure from Flushing Meadows means the US Open will crown a first-time men's Grand Slam victor for the first time since 2014 - the year that Marin Cilic lifted the singles trophy.
Djokovic won his 17th slam singles title in Australia and was an overwhelming favourite to make it 18 in NY having not lost a match all season.
Djokovic rushed over to check that she was okay and after a few minutes she got up and walked off the court.
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A frustrated Djokovic turned, hit the spare ball that had been in his pocket toward the back wall but inadvertently struck the lineswoman near the throat.
After a discussion of several minutes with officials on court, including tournament referee Soeren Friemel, Djokovic walked over to shake hands with Carreno Busta.
The linesperson was taken from the court but didn't appear to suffer a major injury. "It was that moment of frustration, hit the ball away when I wasn't looking and I hit a ball girl in the ear".
"It's the right decision", Tim Henman, who was disqualified from Wimbledon for a similar incident in 1995, told Amazon Prime.
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In the prior game, he wasted three consecutive break points and after the last, which Carreno Busta won with a drop shot, Djokovic whacked a ball off a courtside advertising sign. Djokovic was defaulted from the match.
Had the racquet hit the linesman, Djokovic would have been defaulted from that tournament as well.
While there was no malice in Djokovic's strike, he did himself no favors blowing off the mandatory post-match press conference rather than explaining his side of the story. "Now it gets interesting", said Zverev, who beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 Sunday.
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