The US Open line judge, who was struck by 17-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic’s tennis ball during his fourth-round match, has been the subject of death threats from the Serb’s supporters.
The world number one was subsequently disqualified from the tournament after accidentally hitting lineswomen Lauren Clark with the ball, which he was striking out of frustration after losing his serve during his match with Pablo Carreno Busta.
The Serb was also docked all of his ranking points from the tournament and fined £189,000 as a result of his reckless actions in keeping with the Grand Slam ‘abuse of ball’ guidelines.
Clark was reportedly bruised and gasping for air following the incident, but she did not receive any sympathy from the fans of Djokovic, who posted abusive comments on her public Instagram account. This account has since been made private.
Back in 2008, Clark’s son Josh died in a motorcycle accident, which led to one sick supporter commenting via Instagram, saying: “Don’t worry you’ll be there soon.”
While another wrote on a picture, which was promoting a wine company: “You can drink gallons of alcohol, but not survive a small tennis ball… Bad acting. Shameless.”
The tennis star has since publicy addressed his fan base via Twitter, saying: “Dear #NoleFam please remember the lineperson 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.”
Following the incident, Djokovic’s former coach Boris Becker wrote in a Daily Mail column, saying: "When I was working in his coaching team, I was in the player box during the incident with the racket-throwing at the 2016 French Open, when accidentally he nearly connected with a line judge.
“We spoke afterwards about it, because that was a narrow escape. I said to him you can scream as much as you like, break your racket but don’t throw things or hit the ball away. I was worried something like this might happen.
“Some of Novak’s biggest strengths can be weaknesses. He is an emotional player with a street fighter mentality, it is that kind of fire that has helped him win 17 Grand Slam titles.”
While another former player, who was notoriously well known for losing his temper on the court, John McEnroe, added: “Now whether he likes it or not, he’s going to be the bad guy for the rest of his career. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.”
Clark, meanwhile, is currently staying at a hotel and will not return to work until the tournament doctor, who is monitoring her condition, clears her.
- Novak Djokovic has had a 2020 to forget
- 9 times tennis players have been disqualified mid-match
- New angle shows how hard Novak Djokovic hit the ball