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The world’s number one ranked player, Novak Djokovic has been disqualified from the US Tennis Open for hitting a line judge with a ball on Sunday.

The incident happened during his fourth-round match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in New York at Flushing Meadows.

The Serb lost a point and out of frustration, hit the extra ball that he had in his hand. The ball hit a line judge in her throat after which she struggled to breathe. Djokovic reached out to her immediately. She managed to walk off the court and received medical care.

A discussion between Djokovic and the tournament’s referee ended up in the umpire declaring that Busta has won by default and the match has been suspended.

After the match, Djokovic posted on Instagram that he is “extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong.”

In his post, Djokovic said he is not disclosing the line judge’s name to respect her privacy.

He went on to apologise to the tournament and his fans for his behaviour.

Tennis veteran Billie Jean King shared her thoughts on the referee’s decision on social media.

“The rule is the rule. It is unfortunate for everyone involved, but in this specific situation the default was the right call.”

Djokovic was the only top three men’s player in this year’s tournament. Roger Federer opted not to participate in any events for the rest of the year after undergoing arthoscopic surgery while Rafael Nadal decided not to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This leaves the window wide open for an unknown to take this year’s title.

Watch the ABC News (Australia) video below to see how the accident happened.

Image credits: Instagram and US Open

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