World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was the prohibitive favorite to win the U.S. Open, having cruised to Sunday’s Round of 16 match with No. 20 Pablo Carreno Busta having dropped just one set in his first three matches.
However, the tennis world was stunned when Djokovic was disqualified from the tournament in the first set of that match after he hit at a lineswoman in apparent frustration, striking her in the neck and injuring her. Djokovic was given a default and Carreno Busta advanced to the quarterfinals in stunning fashion.
Been watching & playing tennis my whole life and I don't think I've ever seen this happen pic.twitter.com/SKIuoIwMjj
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) September 6, 2020
Whether intentional or not, the decision by the top player in the world sees him tossed from the tournament. Djokovic is not exactly the most beloved figure in tennis and his antics earlier during the pandemic certainly only soured that image further, but this appeared to be a mistake, as an alternate angle shows his reaction in real time.
Novak Djokovic es descalificado por agredir a un juez de línea, al parecer de forma accidental.
Durante el partido ya había realizado algunas rabietas. pic.twitter.com/oTXqIACIiB
— Elder Reynel (@ElderReynel) September 6, 2020
He was, unsurprisingly, not happy with the decision to default him, complaining to the head official that she wasn’t seriously injured.
"She doesn't have to go to the hospital for this." -Djokovic trying to downplay the effects of hitting the lineswoman, saying she wasn't seriously injured.
"You're going to choose a default in this situation? My career, grand slam, center stage"#USOpen
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 6, 2020
It is as bizarre a moment as you’ll see on the tennis court, particularly given it happened to the tournament favorite, but now the men’s draw in New York seems as wide open as ever and Djokovic only furthering his status as the sport’s most polarizing figure.