The world’s no. 1 tennis champ Novak Djokovic has apologized after being disqualified from the US Open tennis tournament on Sunday for breaking Grand Slam rules.
Djokovic, in a fit of rage, hit a line judge on position with a ball during the fourth round of the match with Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, causing the woman to hold her throat and scream with pain.
Of course, the hit was unintended and as soon as the player realized what happened he went straight to the lady judge and started to apologize, glimpses from the empty stadium confirms.
As per media reports, the Serbian tennis player reportedly pleaded his case for 12 minutes before leaving the sets in dismay, unable to process what just happened.
Taking to Instagram, the Grand Slam winning-machine apologized to the judge who was hurt by his frustrated hit on her throat.
“This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the linesperson and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok,” Djokovic wrote on Instagram.
He said he is extremely sorry for the incident and to have caused her ‘such stress,’ and said his moves were ‘unintended’ and ‘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,” the world champion added.
“I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated with 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.”
Djokovic reportedly drop served to trail 5-6 and slammed the ball out of frustration on the pole which inadvertently went and hit the judge in her throat leaving her in agony.
Colleagues and former Grand Slam players expressed their regrets on Djokovic’s disqualification, calling it the ‘toughest moment in Djokovic’s career.’
“He was in the form of his life, undefeated this year, on his way to collecting Grand Slam number 18. None of that, now he’s going to go home,” former U.S. Open champion Becker said, Reuters reported.
What happens now?
The US Open in a statement said Djokovic ‘reckless’ ball throw within the court, unaware of the consequences had led to defeat him from the tournament.
“Because he defaulted Djokovic will lose all ranking points earned at the US Open and will find the prize money won at the tournament in addition to any or all finds levied with respect to the offending incident,” the official statement read.