Top-seeded Novak Djokovic was defaulted from his fourth-round match on Sunday at the US Open after a tennis ball he hit in anger struck a line judge in the neck.
And while that statement makes it sound like it was the right thing to do, it is absolutely insane.
Because it was done completely by accident.
And the fact that you toss him out of a tournament—rather than fine him or even penalize him a point—you send the top seed in all of tennis home for a line judge being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Something we could all argue in we are in this—ahem—pandemic.
Regardless, as he walked to the Arthur Ashe Stadium sideline for a changeover, trailing Pablo Carreno Busta 6-5 in the first set, Djokovic—who was seeded and ranked Number 1 and an overwhelming favorite for the championship—angrily smacked a ball behind him. The ball flew right at the line judge, who dropped to her knees at the back of the court and reached for her neck.
After a 10-minute discussion near the net involving the chair umpire, tournament referee, and a Grand Slam supervisor—it was announced that Djokovic was defaulted, the tennis equivalent of an ejection.
And the sports equivalent of stupidity as it has to be nearly as disappointing to every tennis fan as it is Djokovic himself.
He’s one of the most exciting players to watch and now we are cheated of that because a line judge—who is paid to do precisely that—did not.
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