Dubai: A momentary lapse of reason may have robbed Novak Djokovic from a very likely shot at his 18th grand slam title, but the world No.1 Serb shrugged it off quickly to extend his support for the line judge in the eye of the storm.
Djokovic exited the US Open in the most unexpected fashion on Monday after he was defaulted as the ball he struck had hit the line judge in the throat. While the shot wasn’t intentional, the official was down for a while.
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Soon after the decision, Djokovic’s fans started criticizing the official on social media.
“The woman was obviously exaggerating,” a user commented on US Open’s Twitter post regarding the decision. “Shame on you. Old lady full of evil,” read one of the messages left on her Instagram account, while other users accused her of faking the injury and “bad acting”.
However, Djokovic wrote on social media: “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. 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 player wrote in another tweet.
While Djokovic didn’t attend the post-match interaction, he took to social media to apologise after the incident.
“This whole situation has left me really sad and empty,” Djokovic had written. “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. 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 for my growth and evolution as a player and human being,” he added.
“I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behaviour. 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,” Djokovic further said.