Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic was disqualified out of the US Open for hitting a line judge in the neck with a ball after dropping a game in his fourth-round match on Sunday, a shocking end to his 29-match winning streak and an attempt to clinch 18th Grand Slam Title.
As Djokovic marked to the Arthur Ashe Stadium sideline for a change, trailing Pablo Carreno Busta 6-5 in the first set, the Serb angrily hit a ball behind him. The ball flew at the line judge, who dropped to her knees at the back of the court and reached for her neck.
During a discussion for 10 minutes near the net linking tournament referee Soeren Friemel, Grand Slam supervisor Andreas Egli and chair umpire Aurelie Tourte, Djokovic supplicated his case.
Finally, Djokovic walked over to shake hands with Busta. Tourte then announced that the Serb defaulted, the tennis equivalent of an ejection.
Reacting on the same, Djokovic later issued an apology on social media.
As per the rule, “Players shall not at any time physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site. The referee, in consultation with the Grand Slam chief of supervisors may declare a default for either a single violation of this code.” Djokovic said the situation has left him “sad and empty”.