(Rome) Novak Djokovic learned “a big lesson” after being disqualified from the US Open for unintentionally hitting a linesman in the throat with a ball.
Posted on September 14, 2020 at 12:17 p.m.
The incident eight days ago marked the unexpected conclusion of Djokovic’s 29-game winning streak and his attempt to win an 18e Grand Slam title.
“I work mentally and emotionally as hard as I work physically,” Djokovic mentioned at the tournament in Rome. I try to be the best version of myself on and off the pitch and I understand that sometimes I have gestures of frustration and that’s kind of the personality and the player I’ve always been.
“I’ll take what happened as a big lesson. I thought about it. I get it. I spoke to my team. It’s just one of those unfortunate things that happens. You have to move on. ”
The disqualification came during Djokovic’s fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.
As he made his way to the Arthur Ashe Stadium sideline for a change of sides, down 6-5 in the first set, Djokovic – who was seeded first, world No.1 and big favorite for the title – made an angry gesture as he kicked the ball to the baseline. The ball hit the linesman directly in the neck and she fell to her knees at the back of the court.
“It was totally unexpected and very unintentional too,” added Djokovic. When you hit a ball like this, you risk hitting someone on the field. The rules are clear. So I accepted. I had to move on and that’s what I did.
“Of course, I haven’t forgotten it. I think I will never forget it because it is one of the things you remember the rest of your life. But I don’t think I’ll have any big problems getting back into the game and being able to play well. ”
Djokovic said he spoke to the line judge after the incident and was told she was not seriously injured.
“I was really sorry to have caused her this shock, because she did not deserve it, entrusted Djokovic. She volunteers and does her job. She loves tennis and has been around, from what I understand, for several years. ”
Djokovic had won five of the last seven Grand Slam tournaments to bring his total to 17, closing in on rivals Roger Federer, who holds the men’s record of 20, and Rafael Nadal, who has a total of 19.
Federer (injury) and Nadal (concerns about travel amid the coronavirus pandemic) did not play at the US Open.
“Sorry for him. He had an opportunity there, Nadal revealed. But in a way, you shouldn’t be doing that. It is important to have good self-control on the pitch. “
Djokovic has a first-round pass in Rome. His first match this week will be either against the Italian Salvatore Caruso, who benefits from an invitation from the organizers, or against a qualifier.
The tournament at Foro Italico has been postponed from its original date in May due to the coronavirus pandemic and will be played without spectators present.
Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal is at the opposite end of Djokovic’s table, and this tournament marks the Spaniard’s return to tennis after a seven-month hiatus.
Like at the US Open, players are kept in a bubble and are frequently tested for the coronavirus. But unlike New York, players don’t have to wear masks when entering and exiting the pitch.
“All the players have been tested, so it makes perfect sense,” said Stefanos Tsitsipas, ranked sixth in the world. And there aren’t people running around telling you what you’re doing and what protocol you need to follow every minute you’re in the bubble.
“Plus the accommodation is on another level. ”
Players stay at the five-star Rome Cavalieri, which overlooks the city center from a hill.