US Open: Match referee reveals exactly what Novak Djokovic said to avoid disqualification


Details of how Novak Djokovic argued against his fourth-round US Open disqualification have been revealed by the match referee

Soren Friemel and supervisor Andreas Egli were officiating the match between Djokovic and Pablo Carreno Busta, which ended when the Serb was disqualified for accidentally hitting a line judge in the neck with the ball.

Djokovic immediately apologised to the judge and attempted to plead his case with the officials, but those appeals were rejected.

Friemel explained, as per The Mirror: “His point was that he didn’t hit the line umpire intentionally.

He said yes, I was angry, I hit the ball, I hit the line umpire, the facts are very clear, but it wasn’t my intent, I didn’t do it on purpose, so I shouldn’t be defaulted for that.

“We all agreed that he didn’t do it on purpose, but the facts are still that he hit the line umpire and that the line umpire was clearly hurt.

“Intent is part of the discussion but there are two factors, one is the action, and the result. And the action, why there was no intent, the result of hitting the line umpire and clearly being hurt is the essential factor in the decision-making process here.”


Djokovic, who was 6-5 down in the opening set of his match when it was stopped, will lose his prize money from the event, believed to be in the region of £190,000. The Serbian, who is currently ranked as world number one, will also lose any ranking points gained.

Following the incident, he made a public apology on social media, writing: “This whole situation has left me really sad and empty.

“I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok.

“I’m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong. I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy.”


His opponent Carreno Busta has made his way to the semi-finals of the tournament, where he takes on fifth seed Alexander Zverev on Friday.

It is the 29-year-old Spaniard’s joint-best performance in an ATP Grand Slam tournament, having reached the last four stage of the same competition in 2017.

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