World No.1 Novak Djokovic was disqualified in the US Open fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta after accidentally hitting a line umpire with a ball.
After Carreno Busta broke to lead 6-5 in the first set on Sunday, Djokovic angrily hit a ball that made contact with a lineswoman. Following an extended discussion between Djokovic and tournament officials, the match was ended.
“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,” the USTA said in an official statement.
“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,” the statement added.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion also released a statement on social media saying, “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. I’m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong. 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.”
He also apologised to the US Open tournament and everyone associated for his behaviour. “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,” he added.
After the match, Carreno Busta told reporters: “I didn’t watch the moment when he (hit) the ball. I was looking to my coach, celebrating the break.”
“I asked the Colombian guys who were in the crowd if the ball hit the line (umpire). I was in shock… I hope the best for her. I hope that she will be okay as soon as possible,” he added.
Carreno Busta will now face 12th seed Denis Shapovalov in the quarter-finals.