World number one Novak Djokovic was sensationally disqualified in the U.S. Open fourth round on Sunday in New York after he accidentally hit a line female judge in the neck with a ball.
This came after he had just lost a point during the first set of his match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.
Djokovic was becoming frustrated after failing to take the opening set.
After suffering a fall and having dropped serve to trail 5-6, he hit a ball reasonably hard to the back of the court, striking a female line judge.
He immediately apologised and stood over her before becoming involved in a lengthy exchange with the tournament referee.
Players who hit another person on the court can be automatically disqualified from the competition by way of a loss.
In spite of Djokovic’s pleadings that he had not meant to hit the official, he was eventually disqualified.
Djokovic attempted to state his case to stay in the competition, telling the officials he could take a game penalty or set penalty rather than a full tournament ouster.
Djokovic shook hands with a stunned Carreno Busta and trudged off to face the music.
He was trying to win his 18th career Grand Slam. He was 26-0 so far this season.
“It’s the right decision,” Tim Henman, who was disqualified from Wimbledon for a similar incident in 1995, said.
“He was not aiming for the line judge, but has hit the ball away and you have to be responsible for your actions.”