New York: World number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia was disqualified from the US Open on Sunday (September 6) after unintentionally hitting a line judge during his fourth round match at the Flushing Meadows.

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When the incident happened, Djokovic was trailing 5-6 in the first set against Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain.

Later, on his Instagram account, Djokovic apologised. He wrote, “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.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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.

A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole) on Sep 6, 2020 at 3:58pm PDT

He added, “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.”

In a statement, United States Tennis Association (USTA) said, “In accordance with the Grand Slam rule book, 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. Because he was defaulted, Djokovic will lose all ranking points earned at the U.S. 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.”

Djokovic’s offence came under “physical abuse” category in the Grand Slam rule book. If it is “aggravated behaviour”, a player can be fined and “maximum penalty of permanent revocation of accreditation and denial of access to all Grand Slam Tournaments.”

Here is what the Grand Slam rule book says

PHYSICAL ABUSE

“Players shall not at any time physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site. Violation of this Section shall subject a player to a fine up to $20,000 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match (including the warmup), the player shall be penalised in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule hereinafter set forth. In circumstances that are flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tournament, or are singularly egregious, a single violation of this Section shall also constitute the Major Offence of “Aggravated Behaviour” and shall be subject to the additional penalties hereinafter set forth. For the purposes of this Rule, physical abuse is the unauthorised touching of an official, opponent, spectator or other person.”

ARTICLE IV: PLAYER MAJOR OFFENCES

A. AGGRAVATED BEHAVIOUR

No player or Related Person at any Grand Slam Tournament shall engage in
“Aggravated Behaviour” which is defined as follows:

1. One or more incidents of behaviour designated in this Code as constituting “Aggravated Behaviour”.

2. One incident of behaviour that is flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a Grand Slam Tournament, or is singularly egregious.

3. A series of two (2) or more violations of this Code within a twelve (12) month period which singularly do not constitute “Aggravated Behaviour”, but when viewed together establish a pattern of conduct that is collectively egregious and is detrimental or injurious to the Grand Slam Tournaments.

In addition, any Player or Related Person who, directly or indirectly, offers or provides or receives any money, benefit or consideration to or from any other
Covered Person or third party in exchange for access and/or accreditation to the tournament site shall be deemed to have engaged in Aggravated Behaviour and be in violation of this Section.

Violation of this Section by a player, directly or indirectly through a Related Person or others, shall subject a player to a fine of up to $250,000 or the amount of prize money won at the tournament, whichever is greater, and a maximum penalty of permanent suspension from play in all Grand Slam Tournaments.
Violation of this Section shall subject a Related Person to a maximum penalty of permanent revocation of accreditation and denial of access to all Grand Slam Tournaments.