‘I can’t promise or guarantee I won’t do it again’: Novak Djokovic admits he may act recklessly AGAIN as he vows to try to change his ways after a call with the line judge he hit before being kicked out of the US Open
- Novak Djokovic struck a line judge with a tennis ball during this year’s US Open
- The world number one was immediately disqualified for the shocking action
- The Serbian could not guarantee it would not happen again in his career
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Novak Djokovic today broke his silence on the dramatic US Open disqualification and admitted it is something that will stay with him for the rest of his life.
The world number one has elected to play in this week’s Italian Open as part of the unusual turnaround that sees players quickly switch to clay ahead of the French Open, which starts later this month.
Djokovic returned from New York to his base in Spain to practice before going to Italy and admitted that the last week has been a sobering experience, following his default for hitting a line judge with a ball in his Flushing Meadows fourth round.
World number one Novak Djokovic has accepted his US Open disqualification last month
‘Of course it was a shock to finish the US Open the way it was finished,’ he said Djokovic, speaking from the Foro Italico, where no fans will be allowed.
‘It was the first time in my career that something like this happens, of course it could have happened earlier in my career you know, could have happened to many players.
‘The ball hits a line judge, it was just unfortunate that I hit the line umpire in a very awkward place. There was a lot of speculation and discussions whether it was deserved or not, I accepted it and I moved on.
‘I cannot promise or cannot guarantee that I will never ever do anything similar to that in my life. I’m going to try my best, obviously, but anything is possible in life.’
The 33 year-old Serbian left New York without doing his obligatory media, but he did make contact with the line judge, Laura Clark.
Djokovic was booted out of the US Open for striking a line judge in the throat with a ball
‘I checked on Laura after the match, she said that she was fine, that there were no injuries. I felt really sorry to cause the shock and drama to her, she didn’t deserve that in any way, she obviously a volunteering as well, she loves tennis and has been there for quite a few years.
‘It’s unfortunate for both of us to experience that. It was very awkward and disappointing for me to finish off the US Open that way because I felt very good about myself my game, I had won the Western and Southern (Cincinatti) Open.
‘I came into the fourth round feeling really good and hitting the ball really nicely, and ready in every aspect. It was very unexpected and very unintended as well, to hit her. But when you hit the ball like that as I hit it to have a chance to hit someone who is on the court and the rules are clear when it comes to that.
Djokovic was immediately disqualified after the incident and the Serbian accepted this charge
‘So I accepted it, I had to move on and that’s what I did. Of course I did not forget about it, I don’t think I will ever forget about it, these things stay in your memory for the rest of your life, but I don’t think I will have any major issues coming back to the tour and being able to perform well and hit the tennis ball during the point.’
Djokovic plays a qualifier or Italy’s Salvatore Caruso in the second round after receiving a bye.
‘It’s great that I have a tournament a week or ten days right after that happened because I feel like the earlier I get back on the competition mode the faster I will over come that memory and kind of reprograme it so I’m hoping for the best.’
Djokovic (right) also admitted he phoned line judge Laura Clark (middle) to check she was fine