Novak Djokovic Issues Apology After Hitting Line Judge At 2020 US Open With Tennis Ball

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts as he walks off court
Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

Novak Djokovic issued an apology on Sunday after he was ejected from the U.S. Open following an incident where he hit a line judge with a tennis ball. The top-ranked player in the world posted his comments on his Instagram account here, saying he felt “empty” after it happened.

“This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok. I’m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress,” Djokovic wrote. “So unintended. So wrong. I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy. As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson”

He added that he apologized to the organizers of the tournament and all those that were associated with it. He also thanked his family and his team for supporting him while he goes through this.

He went on to post the same apology in several languages, apparently wanting to make sure that he was understood by anyone who came to his page to see what the situation was.

Djokovic felt he needed to issue the post after he was “defaulted” in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. The default is the same as being eliminated from the tournament.

CBS Sports reported the move came after he hit the ball away in frustration after he lost a point in his match against Carreno Busta.

Djokovic’s ball hit a line judge in the throat, and she had to be helped off the court. She was reportedly having trouble breathing right after impact.

Organizers issued a statement after the ejection saying it ruled the player aimed at the judge and that’s why he was being booted.

Djokovic spent several minutes making his case that he did it by accident. A video ESPN posted on Instagram showed the incident from different angles. In several of the shots, you can see that Djokovic seemed surprised after it happened and did immediately run over to see if the person was ok.

After the match, Busta told the collected members of the press that he was surprised at everything that went down. He said when Djokovic and the head umpire were discussing whether the match would be allowed to continue, he was just getting ready to go back to work.

When his opponent was told to leave the court, he said he never expected for his bout with Djokovic to go that way.