Novak Djokovic was sensationally behind on Sunday evening at the US Open after provoking the ball to a line woman in a fit of pike.
The number 1 in the world, the big favorite of the tournament, was eliminated after long deliberations with tournament officials in his fourth round against the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.
The 33-year-old Serb had just dropped the serve for 5-6 against number 20 when he furiously wiped away a ball that seemed to hit the line woman in the throat.
Novak Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open for hitting a ball at a linesman
Djokovic of Serbia checks out a line woman after hitting her with a ball at the US Open
Djokovic will lose all of his prize money, which is believed to be USD 250,000 (£ 188,000), as well as any ranking points accumulated so far in the tournament.
The volunteer fell over and the rules for such abuse of those on the pitch are pretty clear: the player has to go.
Referee Soeren Friemel was called onto the pitch by referee Aurelie Tourte in the huge, abandoned Arthur Ashe Stadium. After much debate, he was told that there was no choice but to expel him from a tournament that had already seen an abundance of dramas.
Djokovic tried to defend his case and he could be heard arguing in vain.
Djokovic shakes hands with Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta after failing the game
"She doesn't have to go to the hospital for that," he said when he stood at the network with a shocked expression on his face. “Are you going to choose a standard in this situation? Focus on my career, Grand Slam? & # 39;
Friemel, supported by the high-ranking official Andreas Egli, held on, even when he added: "You have a game penalty, a penalty, many options."
When he had exhausted his excuses and had been informed of the decision, he went relatively calmly to the Spaniard and shook his hand.
A subsequent statement by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) read: “In accordance with Grand Slam rules, the United States follows its actions, deliberately striking a ball dangerously or recklessly on the court, or negligently disregarding the consequences The referee of the Open tournament has put Novak Djokovic behind at the US Open 2020.
"Delayed, Djokovic will lose all US Open ranking points and receive a fine for the tournament prize money in addition to some or all of the fines imposed in connection with the incident."
Djokovic leaves the field after falling behind with accidental hits on a line woman
This was arguably the most dramatic failure since British referee Gerry Armstrong, now the Wimbledon referee, disqualified John McEnroe from the Australian Open in 1990 for verbal abuse.
Djokovic had very likely contributed to his 17 main titles and was in great shape. He had set a 26-0 record for 2020 that was expected to stretch until the end of this strange season.
It is a heavy blow to his hopes to usurp Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who are both not in Flushing Meadows but are at 19 and 20 respectively. At 33, he can hardly afford to miss such opportunities.
One result of the drama is that for the first time since Marin Cilic six years ago in New York there will be a long-awaited new Grand Slam champion in men's tennis, with the young cannons eagerly waiting in the starting blocks as the established stars slip.
Djokovic was then frustrated and fired a ball behind which the line woman hit in the throat
There seems to be no question that Djokovic's furious blow didn't mean to hurt the bat, it was just an act of frustration. Immediately he saw that he had hit his unintended target, gestured his apology, and knew he was in big trouble.
Tim Henman was defaulted on a similar Wimbledon calamity 25 years ago, and he knew better than anyone that there was no alternative to punishment.
"It is the right decision," said Henman Amazon Prime. "It happened to me at Wimbledon in 1995 in the same scenario. You have to be responsible for your actions in looking at the facts that you have to delay."
This time around, it was worn by someone who at times pretends to be above the sport as they try to cement a legacy comparable to that of Nadal and Federer.
Djokovic has flirted with this type of disaster before, by hitting balls that went into the crowd in anger or aggressively tearing towels from ball kids.
Djokovic speaks to the referee after accidentally hitting a linesman with a ball on Sunday
There was a notable example at the French Open in 2016 when he played against the Czech Tomas Berdych.
He tossed his bat into the clay at a linesman and when it hit it missed his head only thanks to the officer's reflexes. Otherwise he would have gone there too and not won his only Roland Garros title.
In a way, this is a fair end to a lockdown summer that has severely damaged the reputation of a highly intelligent, motivated and complex man who is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time, especially on hard courts.
He organized the disastrous Adriatic tour around the Balkans, which had to be canceled when numerous participants, including himself and his wife, tested positive for coronavirus.
Djokovic (right) tries to help after hitting the linesman with a ball in the neck at the US Open
The entire guiding principle of the exhibition series seemed to be that coronavirus was something to be overlooked, and there was a definite lack of social distancing throughout production.
It overshadowed his sizable donations to nonprofits in Covid-19.
Previously, he was criticized by one of Serbia's leading epidemiologists for his anti-vaccine views and there was an embarrassing social media exchange with health gurus.
He left Flushing Meadows abruptly on Sunday night and now has to decide what to do next before the French Open, which is due to take place later this month.
Dominic Thiem, the second largest seed, becomes the new favorite of the tournament.
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