Novak Djokovic speaks out on US Open incident which has left him "sad and empty"

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Novak Djokovic says he feels “sad and empty” after being disqualified from the US Open for hitting a line judge with a tennis ball.

The world No. 1 was the overwhelming favourite to clinch an 18th Grand Slam title in Flushing Meadows but his chances were left in tatters on Sunday.

In the first set of his fourth round clash with Spanish player Pablo Carreno Busta, Djokovic was left frustrated after his serve was broken in the 11th game.

And straight after losing it he hit a ball in frustration which went straight into the throat of a line judge at court side.

The Serbian tried to state his innocence to the match officials but after long conversations on court he was told that he was being defaulted from the tournament.

Djokovic was seen leaving the complex minutes after being disqualified after deciding not stay around for interviews, but he has now broken his silence.

Speaking on social media a couple of hours later, he said: “This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok. I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress.

“So unintended. So 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.

“I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for 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.”

A statement from the tournament earlier, read: “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.

“Because he was defaulted, Djokovic will lose all ranking points earned at the US Open and will be fined the prize money won at the tournament in addition to any or all fines levied with respect to the offending incident.”

With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal not taking part in this year’s US Open, the tournament was golden opportunity for Djokovic to close the gap in Grand Slam wins to both.

Swiss ace Federer leads the all-time list with 20 Grand Slam titles, while Nadal is on 19, two ahead of Djokovic.

The 33-year-old will have the chance to make up for his error later this month when the French Open takes place in Paris.

But with Nadal set to return for his favourite tournament, he could find life much more difficult.

  • Novak Djokovic
  • Tennis

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