Men's world number one Novak Djokovic, who was disqualified from the US Open after striking a line judge with a ball, has issued a plea to his fans to support the official after she was attacked by trolls online.
Djokovic was slung out in the round of 16 for aggressive behavior when he struck a line judge with a ball during a match against Pablo Carreño Busta at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, in which he was trailing the Spaniard 5-6 in the first set.
Here’s the video....Djokovic hit her right in the throat— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) September 6, 2020
Likely winner of the US Open disqualifies pic.twitter.com/d3qNfyZRCa
Although the incident was accepted as accidental, and the line judge suffered no serious physical harm, the favorite at Flushing Meadows was defaulted from the tournament.
With that disqualification, the Serb's 26-match perfect run to start 2020 waist tatters along with the chance to win a Grand Slam that lacked the presence of rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who had skipped the event due to Covid fears.
Subsequently, the line judge was the target for abuse and criticism online, as many believed her reaction made a meal of the initial contact, which seemed minimal.
This was a terrible decision. He didn’t intentionally hit the line judge (he barely hit the ball!) and she went down like she had been hit by gunfire. Complete exaggeration and defaulting him out of the game is ridiculous. Fine him like all the others and let him play!— Veronica Dyste (@VdizzleDyste) September 6, 2020
It's unfortunate that it happened. But she went down like she had been sniped or something.— Luis Madrigal (@LuisMadrigal1) September 6, 2020
Nevertheless Djokovic, who was unreservedly apologetic in the aftermath, claimed the victim had done nothing wrong and called on his 'Nolefam' to offer nothing 'care and support to the official.
"Dear #NoleFam thank you for your positive messages.. Please also remember the linesperson that was hit by the ball last night needs our community’s support too," Djokovic wrote to his 8.7 million Twitter followers.
From these moments, we grow stronger and we rise above. Sharing love with everyone. Europe here I come ✈️ (2/2)— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) September 7, 2020
"She’s done nothing wrong at all. I ask you to stay especially supportive and caring to her during this time. From these moments, we grow stronger and we rise above. Sharing love with everyone. Europe here I come."
The US Open issued a statement following the ordeal, announcing that Djokovic would be defaulted for 'dangerously or recklessly' hitting the ball, consequently losing all his gained ranking points and being fined his $250,000 prize money.
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