"I'm extremely sorry to have caused her such stress," Novak Djokovic said

By Karen Mizoguchi
September 06, 2020 07:26 PM
Seth Wenig/AP/Shutterstock

Novak Djokovic is apologizing for his actions.

The 33-year-old tennis star, who did not speak to reporters after getting disqualified for accidentally hitting a lineswoman during his U.S. Open match on Sunday, shared a statement on social media.

"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," he said.

"I'm not disclosing her name to respect her privacy. As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being," the No. 1 ranked men's player continued.

"I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behavior. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry," Djokovic concluded his post.

In a stunning turn of events, the Serbian athlete defaulted from the fourth round of the U.S. Open after he accidentally hit a lineswoman with a ball in a fit of anger. Moments prior, on the second point, he had fallen to the ground after chasing a shot. He was seen clutching his left shoulder.

Djokovic, who was the heavy favorite expected to secure a win in the men's singles tournament, was down 5-6 in the first set against Pablo Carreño Busta. A frustrated Djokovic walked to the sideline for the changeover when he launched the ball behind him and unintentionally hit the umpire.

"In accordance with the Grand Slam rulebook, following his actions of intentionally hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences, the US Open tournament referee defaulted Novak Djokovic from the 2020 US Open. Because he was defaulted, 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," the United States Tennis Association said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Carreño Busta, 29, spoke with reporters after the match and gave his reaction to the news of Djokovic's default.

Explaining how he had not seen Djokovic's ball hit the lineswoman, the Spanish tennis star said he was "a little bit shocked" when he heard the news. "I asked the Colombian guys who were in the crowd if the ball hit the line umpire, I was in shock," he explained. "I never expected this moment, playing against Novak so it was a tough moment also for me."

Djokovic's disqualification guarantees that there will be a first-time Grand Slam men's singles champion at the U.S. Open. Carreño Busta advanced to the quarterfinals with the default.

It was Djokovic's bid for an 18th Grand Slam title and a 26-0 streak in the 2020 season.