Novak Djokovic, the number 1 tennis player in the world, is no longer in contention for the US Open title.
Up 40-0 with a 5-4 lead in the first set of the Round of 16, Djokovic seemed to have the set secured. However, his opponent, Pablo Carreno Busta, came back and won the point, tying the set at 5-5. Busta went on to ride that momentum from that last point to go up 6-5. Djokovic, clearly unhappy with himself at this point, let out some frustration. Ultimately, this anger would cost him the match.
Djokovic hit a line drive that struck a lineswoman right in the neck, causing her to collapse and even have trouble breathing for a brief period.
As seen by his reaction, Djokovic hit the lineswoman by accident, and thankfully, she is currently okay. However, after Djokovic had a ten-minute conversation with the referee, the referee decided to disqualify Djokovic. And so that was it. Djokovic walked over to Busta, shook his hand, and proceeded to leave the court.
Djokovic believed that he should have been given another chance, saying, “You have a game penalty, set penalty, many options.” Djokovic would much rather take those penalties than a complete disqualification.
Similar Situation to Tim Henman
In 1995, this same circumstance happened to Tim Henman. That year in Wimbledon, he played doubles with Jeremy Bates, and just like Djokovic, he lost his cool in the middle of the match.
Henman argued for Djokovic, but believed that he got what he deserved:
“It happened to me in 1995. We were up two sets in the doubles. I hit a ball-girl in the ear. Djokovic was not aiming for the line judge, but you have to be responsible for your actions. There is no other result but to be defaulted.”
Like Djokovic, Henman and Bates were disqualified in that 1995 match.
Perhaps in the future, Djokovic will manage his frustration so that this never happens again.