Novak Djokovic has made headlines around the world after being disqualified from the US Open.
In the absence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the Serbian entered the prestigious tournament at Flushing Meadows as the top seed and favourite to win his 18th career Grand Slam.
However, tennis fans will see a new Grand Slam champion in New York after Djokovic was defaulted during his fourth round match with Pablo Carreño Busta.
Djokovic defaulted in New York
Djokovic was trailing his Spanish opponent after losing the opening set 6-5 when he took the decision to remove a ball from his pocket and hit it in the direction of a line judge.
Unfortunately for Djokovic, who immediately looked concerned and apologetic, the ball hit a female official in the throat and sent her crashing down to the court.
The line judge was quickly attended to and after some deliberation between officials, the decision was taken that Djokovic should be defaulted and would therefore be eliminated.
Heavy criticism for Djokovic
US Open Tennis said in an official statement: "Djokovic will lose all ranking points earned at the US Open and will be fined the prize money won at the tournament in addition to any or all fines levied with respect to the offending incident."
Stuart Fraser of The Times claimed that Amazon Prime's coverage of the event showed Djokovic leaving Flushing Meadows and getting into a car despite not having made a public apology.
And although there's good reason to think that Djokovic's actions weren't deliberate, though they were undoubtedly dangerous, the 33-year-old has come in for heavy criticism regardless.
Djokovic's reaction to incident
But according to Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times, Djokovic had no shortage of protestations amidst the controversy and his alleged words have now been tweeted out.
Djokovic is reported to have said: "She doesn't have to go to the hospital for this. You're going to choose a default in this situation? My career, grand slam, centre stage."
And as Andreas Egli stood firm on the decision, Djokovic is believed to have responded by saying: "If she would have gotten up right away..."
At the end of the day, Djokovic's actions, regardless of the intentions, were both unnecessary and dangerous, so credit to the officials for sticking to the rules that exist for people's safety.
Correct decision made
The official not requiring hospital treatment doesn't take away from the fact she was at risk of injury when she needn't have been.
In the words of Leon Smith to the BBC: "It's a habit. He did it five minutes beforehand, with much more venom, and he was just lucky it hit the advertising board. It could have hit one of the ball kids."
At the time of writing, Djokovic has not officially responded to the episode.
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