Novak Djokovic‘s disqualification from the US Open on Monday left the tennis world shocked. Djokovic was a favourite to win the US Open with both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal not participating and the Serb’s disqualification means there will be a new Grand Slam champion (apart from the Big Three) for the first time since 2016 US Open.
Djokovic was defaulted after he accidentally hit a line judge in the throat when he swatted aside a ball in frustration during his Round of 16 match against Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta.
Here’s how everyone reaction to the sensational incident, including Djokovic himself:
This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person … 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. I apologize to the US Open tournament and everyone associated for my behavior - Novak Djokovic
I think this was not intentional. I don’t think that any one of us, the players, do this (intentionally). It’s just I broke his serve and he threw the ball. I think that it was bad luck, no? You cannot do this, but of course I think that Novak never, never wants to hit the line umpire. I’m so sorry about that, because it’s not the way that I want to be in (the) quarter-finals - Pablo Carreno-Busta
It’s very unfortunate that he hit the line judge, and especially where it hit her. Very unlucky for Novak. I think he’s going to be a little bit upset about it. If he would have hit it anywhere else, if it would have landed anywhere else, we are talking about a few inches, he would have been fine. I’m a little bit in shock right now - Alexander Zverev
Unbelievable what just happened on the court. Novak Djokovic defaulted for inadvertently but stupidly hitting a lineswoman in the throat with a ball and the officials had no choice but to default. Wow… #sad Glad the woman is ok - we must do better than that - Martina Navratilova, 18-times Grand Slam singles champion
I hope the line judge is okay. The rule is the rule. It is unfortunate for everyone involved, but in this specific situation the default was the right call - Billie Jean King, 12-times Grand Slam singles champion
It’s the right decision. He is not aiming for the line judge, but has hit the ball away and you have to be responsible for your actions - Tim Henman, first player to be defaulted from a tournament in Open Era
You are not allowed to do that. It’s as much bad luck as you can have on a tennis court. He didn’t just roll the ball back to the ball kid, that’s the bottom line. He hit it harder than he intended to, obviously a complete accident. It was a sign of frustration, yes. A little bit. But it doesn’t matter, you are not allowed to do it - Mats Wilander, seven-times Grand Slam singles champion
It’s amazing how one centimetre can change not only the match, but the future of our sport, the history of our sport. With the rule as it is, you need to disqualify him. It’s obvious they had no other choice, it’s a pity… - Alex Corretja, former French Open finalist
Almost every high-performance player I train does what Novak did in firing the ball. I tell them to stop it, and break the habit for this exact reason, they eventually hit someone and it won’t be good. Yes, Novak deserved it - Tim Mayotte, coach and former player
Swap me for jokers incident. ‘Accidentally hitting the ball kid in the throat’ how many years would I be banned for? 5? 10? 20? - Nick Kyrgios
I didn’t really see what happened live (with Djokovic). I was sleeping because I knew I was going to play a very late match but yeah I saw it afterwards, the aftermath. For me, that’s definitely like a warning to never do that - Naomi Osaka
(With Reuters inputs)