Watch Novak Djokovic get BOOTED OUT of US Open after accidentally hitting line judge with a angry swipe at ball

NOVAK DJOKOVIC was sensationally booted out of the US Open for unintentionally hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball.

In incredible scenes in New York, the frustrated world No1 was defaulted by tournament officials during his fourth-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.

The Serbian injured a line judge when he smacked the ball at her by mistake after being broken in the first set.

Djokovic, 33, looked horrified after the incident, but argued his case with officials as the World No 1 – chasing his 18th Grand Slam title – pleaded not to be disqualified.

According to reports courtside, he said: "She doesn't have to go to the hospital for this. You're going to choose a default in this situation? My career, grand slam, centre stage"

Djokovic later apologised in a statement on Instagram, writing: "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 apologise to the US Open 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."

According to the rulebook, “players shall not at any times physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site”.

It adds that: “physical abuse is the unauthorised touching of an official, opponent, spectator or other person”.

Former British No1 Tim Henman said: “It’s a massive shock.

“It’s the right decision. It happened to me at Wimbledon in 1995 in a similar scenario.

I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong.

“That moment of frustration when I hit the ball away when not looking. I hit a ball girl in the ear.

“You look at Djokovic. He was frustrated. He wasn’t aiming for her. But you have to be responsible for your actions.

"When you look at the facts, there is no alternative than to be defaulted.

“He has hit that ball aiming for the back fence, he’s not aiming for anyone. He has hit the line judge in the throat. It only leaves one option for the referee.”

It has been a disastrous summer for Djokovic given he was heavily criticised for testing positive for Covid-19 alongside other tennis stars.

His Adria Tour in Eastern Europe was cancelled as stars caught the killer bug after videos emerged of the players night-club partying and topless dancing.

Djokovic squandered three set points to the Spaniard on the Arthur Ashe stadium and then fell awkwardly, hurting his left shoulder.

When he fell 6-5 behind, he hit the ball behind him without looking and it struck the lineswoman.

She fell down, clutching her throat and started to cough and wheeze dramatically while Djokovic raced over.

Soeren Friemel, the US Open referee, went on court and explained that under the Grand Slam Code of Conduct, the 33-year-old would be disqualified regardless of intent.

It means there will be a new men’s Grand Slam champion for six years.

Greg Rusedski, the 1997 US Open finalist, said: “I am absolutely shocked. I never saw this coming. But it was the right decision.

“Those are the rules. But when someone is injured or hurt, you have to feel sorry for the lines woman.

“You are wondering how can this happen at this moment? You feel bad for the tournament and bad for the lineswoman and Novak. But that is an automatic.

“It’s a terrible feeling. It’s a tough decision as you are kicking out of the No.1 player in the world. The decision took too long.”

Opponent Busta added: “I’m in shock. It was bad luck, no? You cannot do this. The rules are the rules. It’s a tough moment for him.

"I’m so sorry – because it’s not the way that I want to be in the quarter-finals.”

Djokovic will lose all his ranking points and be fined the £189,000 prize money won at the tournament for reaching the fourth round.

A USTA statement said: "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."

Djokovic was seen driving away from the venue in his car without attending his post-match press conference.

And Henman told Prime Video: "Unfortunately he’s compounding the error. He needs to face up to it, apologise and accept he made a mistake.

"By, in essence, running away, it’s going to go on longer."

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