When I woke up this morning to the headlines about Djokovic Defaulted I could not believe my eyes. The world number one is out of the US Open.
There are days when the greats are more irritable than others. Djokovic is more prone to this than Rafa and Roger and last night was not great for him. He played Carreno Busta – a player he is most likely to beat pretty handily, but Busta played well and just got the break at 5-5 when Djokovic took out one of the balls in his pocket and casually, but angrily hit it towards the back fence.
The ball freakishly hit a lineswoman in the throat and she fell to the ground. Djokovic rushed over to check how she was and she laid on the ground for quite a while. In the end, she seems to be okay, but it seemed to have hit her in exactly the wrong place. As per the rulebook, Djokovic defaulted in a similar way to Nalbandian at Queens 2012 or Shapovalov at the Davis Cup 2017.
Djokovic defaulted – Issued a statement
Djokovic did not go to the mandatory press conference, but instead just went back to his house. Later on, he issued the following statement on social media:
“This whole situation has left me really sad and empty, I checked on the linesperson 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.
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. 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.”
It is deeply unfortunate and we can all understand his frustration. But Djokovic needs to tame his anger a bit. He is the number one player in the world, in charge of the player council (nowadays the PTPA), and a role model to so many people and tennis players worldwide. He is a leader and needs to act like one. Hitting balls out of the stands or at the back fence with the risk at hitting a ball person, is not suitable for a player and person of his stature. He has had a solid 2020 on the court, but the Adria tour fiasco, talking about changing the energy of water, refusing vaccines, and now this incident, shows that he has some maturing to do off the court.
This now leads the draw wide open. Is it Thiem's turn? Can an in-form Zverev finally make his breakthrough on the grand slam stage? Or is it time for Medvedev, Berrettini, or even Felix Auger-Aliassime?
What do you think of the Djokovic default and who will benefit the most in his absence?
He deserved to go absolutely but she did she make a complete meal of it! She made out like she’d just gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. If she doesn’t want to be in the firing line and possibly get hit by tennis balls (accidentally or not), perhaps line judging isn’t the career for her . . . . .
If Novak had hit a man judge in his scrotum, you wouldn’t say that he overreacted and that he shouldn’t be performing his job. In my honestly opinion, your comment is very unfortunate, to say it mildly.
Some people have said defaulting was excessive, but those are the rules. Even more ridiculously, some people are saying he should stay because he’s so important to the tournament! Madness.
You can’t say it’s ok to hit someone with a 30mph ball, but not say a 35mph ball; not to mention that Djok often fires 80mph balls at the backboard too – see his comment a few years ago when he said there was no risk in such. If you are hit with a ball not matter how hard and you aren’t prepared, damage can be caused because you can’t protect yourself and the shock can knock you over. It’s completely different to when you’re watching a rally and you can take avoiding action. That’s why the rule exists, and if Djok purports to be a leader in the tennis community he should learn them quickly.
She got hit in the throat. Have you ever been hit there? It’s less about the pain and more about the feeling of not being able to breathe so, yeah, I’m fine with the way she reacted. I also believe he didn’t mean to do it but rules are rules.
The umpire hit in the eye by Shapovalov didn’t overeact (Youtube search it if you haven’t seen it). She did. If he had of hit a man in his bits & pieces, yes it’s going to be painful but it’s what you do afterwards. I’ve been hit before by harder balls than what Djokovic did and I didn’t go over the top like her. It was clearly an accident, not even hit with real anger (see Shapovalov). I can remember being in pain but reassuring the hitter that I was ok, I knew that they didn’t mean it and not to worry. She laid it on thick like she was going for the Oscar. Novak didn’t hit it that hard, he shouldn’t have done it in the first place but he did, and she made sure everyone saw what he’d done. Her lawyers will be loving this, the chance to rip apart the No 1 in the world! I don’t even like Novak. To say it mildly.
French Open 2016 similar reckless behaviour, World Tour finals 2016 similar incident compounded by insidious arrogance in the press conference afterwards. Daniella Hantuchova has it right on Prime Video, He needs to grow up, it is really pathetic for a 33 year old major sports star to behave like this and he is clearly not adult enough to face the music in a press conference afterwards either. Truly pathetic. No wonder so many people dislike him
His press conference at WTF was very arrogant indeed. Watching Roland Garros 2016 again, I don´t think he meant to throw the racket, like he meant to throw the ball here. The guy made a mistake and rules are rules, so it was fair decision. But in my opinion the media and we as fans judge him just too much sometimes. He is not the only player who´s ever behaved arrogant or didn´t control his emotions on court, even Federer has . As a tennis fan, I think people still don´t give him enough credit for what he has accomplished. He´s not perfect and maybe he´s not the ideal role model -most of us aren´t-, but neither is he pathetic.
I agree with previous poster . He had to be disqualified, that’s the rule, but that lady acted like she had just been throat punched by the Rock at wrestlemania ! Give me a break ! She needed to be disqualified also !