For Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 player with 17 Grand Slam titles, this one-moment bad judgment will always follow him.
What does Novak Djokovic disqualification from the US Open mean for him and tennis world?
This is going to take some sort of extraordinary action for World # 1, Novak Djokovic, for not defending his US Open title in 2020 following his disqualification. That extraordinary moment happened over the weekend.
The Serbian tennis star accidentally hit one of the line judges with a ball in frustration during a match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.
Just like that, in a few minutes, his search for the 8th Major was over. Disqualified before the end of a full set. Djokovic entered the fray in 2020 with 23 wins, which was extended to 26 by the time he took the court against Carreno Busta.
The odds of him winning before the start of the tournament are -150, which is incredibly high for a winner before a tennis match. There were some bumps on the road before the matches, especially the COVID-19 party issues in Europe, but Djokovic was as good as ever in his first three matches.
- Advertisement -
This is how it happened
In the first set, at 4-5, in the service of Carreno Busta, it seemed that Djokovic would close things. The Joker had three set points and Carreno Busta was on the verge of losing the first set.
The package is complete, but for the incredible challenge. Below 0-40, Carreno attacked a forehand, but Hawkeye showed that it was the width of a hair inside the base. Carreno Busta struggled through that game. But Djokovic began to show frustration. He angrily smashed the ball to the side of the court.
In the 11th game of the set, Djokovic fell 0-30 on the court and landed on his left shoulder. He collapsed in court in pain. A coach had to come out to play in the middle of the injury. After receiving treatment, Djokovic hit the ball correctly, but 0-30 quickly turned into a service break.
The Spaniards had a chance to close the first set, but as the players began to move to their chairs, the moment of long talk emerged.
Djokovic seemed to look the other way when he pulled the ball out of his pocket and smashed it in frustration. It flew about 40 feet in the direction of a line judge and struck her in the throat.
- Advertisement -
She screamed as she collapsed to the ground and began to breathe for air. Since there were no fans, it was very easy to hear her having trouble breathing. Djokovic (and the authorities) immediately rushed to her to check that she was OK.
An anxious Djokovic put his hand on her back as she struggled to breathe. A few minutes later she got up and left the court.
Judge’s decision and USTA report
There were about ten minutes of discussions between Djokovic and the match officials and other officials. During those discussions, Djokovic asked that his case be extended to the competition. He said “game fines, penalty setting, multiple options.”
- Advertisement -
But the referee finally declared Carreno Pusta a natural winner. Djokovic was disgusted, shook hands with his opponent and left the court. This is a shocking moment in the history of tennis, given Djokovic’s status within the sport.
The Rules book justifying Novak Djokovic disqualification contains all sorts of rules, sections, articles. Eventually, the judge enforced them into the letter. The USTA issued a statement shortly after the incident.
“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.”
Novak Djokovic apologizes after a disqualification
The Joker, who left campus in New York, immediately apologized on Instagram.
“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. Also for my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry.”
What does this mean for Djokovic and tennis world?
For Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 player with 17 Grand Slam titles, this one-moment bad judgment will always follow him. Ask John McEnroe, the last major player to be disqualified from a major at the 1990 Australian Open. Djokovic will be required soon to repair his image in the tennis world.
As for what this means for the game of tennis, it almost works in its favour. For the first time since 2016, Djokovic, Federer or Nadal will not lift the Grand Slam trophy. This is the first time since 2004 that one of the big three will not play in the semifinals.
Federer withdrew this year with an injury, while Nadal withdrew from the US Open due to COVID-19 concerns. A Grand Slam winner will host the US Open Trophy next week, for the first time in 2020.