On Sunday, Sept. 6, in the round of 16 match between Novak Djokovic and Pablo Carreño Busta, 17-time Grand Slam Champion Djokovic defaulted from the US Open, according to the New York Times.
After accidentally hitting a line judge in the neck with a tennis ball he hit to the back of the court, the umpire and supervisors disqualified Djokovic from the 2020 US Open. His disqualification includes forfeiture of his ranking points, forfeiture of the $250,000 in prize money he had earned in the tournament, a $10,000 fine for the incident and an additional fine for his absence from the postmatch news conference.
Many of his fans are shocked by the punishment of his unintentional actions. However, tournament referee Soeren Friemel claims that Djokovic’s fine for the incident would have resulted in a harsher punishment if he had hit the line judge with intent.
Others who watched the clip of the hit that caused Djokovic’s disqualification claim that it was of intent as he was frustrated after losing the first game to Busta. Fans on his defense counter to that, saying that there was no frustration in his movements, he was not looking at her when hitting the ball and that his realization afterward was proof that he was genuinely sorry.
— ESPN (@espn) September 6, 2020
“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,” the USTA said on the subject of Djokovic’s default.
When asked to speak on the matter, Busta said, “Well, the rules are the rules,” according to the New York Times.
Two hours after his disqualification, Djokovic made an Instagram post apologizing for what had happened, and says that he will “work on [his] disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for [his] growth and evolution as a player and human being.”
Djokovic’s disqualification gives way to a guarantee of a first-time Grand Slam champion in US Open men’s singles, the first since 2014.
With Rafael Nadal opting out of the 2020 US Open due to concerns about the coronavirus, Roger Federer opting out due to a knee injury, and Novak Djokovic defaulted after hitting a line judge with a ball, some anticipate a drop in viewer count of this year’s US Open men’s singles matches.