Novak Djokovic disqualified from US Open for touching linesman with his ball

Novak Djokovic is with the linesman who has just been struck by the ball he threw, in Flushing Meadows (New York) on September 6.

Who could stop Novak Djokovic from winning his eighteenth Grand Slam title at the US Open? No doubt no one other than himself. Because it is another player who will lift the cup, the world number one having been disqualified in the round of 16, Sunday, September 6, on a gesture of humor.

“Because he was disqualified, Djokovic will lose all ATP points earned at the US Open [en l’occurrence… aucun] and will be fined the amount of his prize money in addition to any other fine that may be decided on the basis of the incident ”, said the United States Tennis Federation (USTA). The fine is expected to be even higher because of his decision to leave the stadium immediately without giving the mandatory press conference.

What happened ? We are at the end of the first set in this match between the Serbian and the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta (ranked 27e at ATP). A ball hit by Novak Djokovic without looking down the court will hit a linesman in the throat. The latter screams and collapses, the world number one rushes towards her. She gets up; he will sit down. But the rules are final: any player guilty of this type of gesture, even involuntarily, is excluded.

Raw nerves

Carreno Busta saw nothing. “I was celebrating my break with my coach”, he explained, confirming the obvious: Djokovic did not have ” intentionally “ reached the linesman.

Grand Slam disqualifications are rare. But that of John McEnroe at the Australian Open in 1990 had already marked the spirits.

A few hours after leaving the court, Novak Djokovic apologized on social networks.

He had had a first gesture of temper a few points before, when he had violently hit a ball against a balustrade. His nerves were strained as he led 5-4 and had three balls to win the set 6-4 on his opponent’s serve, but the Spaniard managed to save them and tie it at 5-5. The Serb had lost his throw-in in the process, which had provoked his unfortunate gesture.

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” It’s really bad luck, commented Alexander Zverev who was at the same time at a press conference. There is a rule for that. I think the supervisor is doing his job. But it’s really bad luck for Novak. “

Former American tennis star Billie Jean King was more direct on Twitter: “The rule is the rule. It’s a shame for everyone involved, but in this situation exclusion was the right decision. “

Inevitable sanction

The first comments were all along the same lines: not intentional, bad luck, but inevitable punishment. With more or less satisfaction. “It’s the right decision! “, rejoiced former American player Tracy Austin on Twitter.

Supervisor “Had no choice”, estimated four-time US Open champion Martina Navratilova. On the same line, former British number one Greg Rusedski added that “Novak should have stayed for the press conference to apologize”.

Novak Djokovic speaks with a referee after having a moody gesture during the US Open Round of 16 at Flushing Meadows on September 6.

In an empty stadium due to the closed session, the likelihood of Djokovic’s ball hitting someone was particularly low. In the absence of his main rivals, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal and the Swiss Roger Federer, the Serbian who is considered the best player on hard and who was undefeated since the start of the year with 26 wins in as many matches, seemed on track to win his eighteenth Grand Slam title.

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The US Open 2020 will therefore be the first Major to have a winner other than one of the members of the “Big 3” (Nadal, Federer, Djokovic) since its 2016 edition then won by the Swiss Stan Wawrinka. More so, there will be in New York this year a brand new Grand Slam winner.

The World with AFP


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