As if the atmosphere at the U.S Open was not bizarre enough due to the fact that it was being played without any spectators, an unfortunate accident made sure that this tournament stays in every tennis fan’s memory for a while.
For the first time in professional tennis history, the world #1 player has been disqualified from a grand slam tournament. In the latest edition of the U.S Open, which saw Austrian player Dominic Thiem conquer his first grand slam, new ground was broken. During a round of 16 match played on September 6th, Novak Djokovic, who holds the top spot in the ATP men’s rankings, had an outburst that he is not likely to forget. Ever.
With the game nearing the end of a contested first set Djokovic lost his serve and gave his opponent, Spanish player Carreno Busta, the opportunity to close out the set and take a 1-0 lead. Upset with losing his serve, Djokovic hit the ball towards the back of the court without looking. Big mistake. The ball hit a lineswoman in the neck, who took a tumble and looked quite shocked. Djokovic immediately walked towards her with an expression of both disbelief and concern on his face. A few minutes later, with the chief tournament referee on the court, Djokovic had lost the match.
Dkojovic tries to console the line judge during the game on September 6th, at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The referee’s decision may sound harsh to many, considering that the ball did not seem to hit her particularly hard, but the rules are quite clear and Djokovic himself did not protest the decision. He shook his rival’s hand, packed up his equipment and left the arena without talking to any press. Days later, when Djokovic finally spoke of the incident, he said that this is ”one of those things that stay with you for the rest of your life”. As it should.
If you are interested in upcoming tournaments, you can find the ATP schedule here https://www.atptour.com/en/tournaments.
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