New Delhi September 8, 2020, UPDATED: September 8, 2020, 11:10 IST
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Tuesday took to social media to urge his fans who have turned on the US Open lineswoman who was hit by the ball that led to the Serb star’s default in the 4th round. Djokovic said the lineswoman in question did nothing wrong and she needs the tennis community’s support amid the backlash.
The lineswoman, who was accidentally hit by Djokovic on Monday, has been facing angry backlash and abuse on social media from a section of the tennis star’s fans after Serbian media revealed her Instagram profile, according to Reuters. While some hurled abuse at the match official, a few others claimed the lineswoman overreacted after the ball hit her neck.
Djokovic had immediately rushed to the lineswoman and checked on her before having a lengthy discussion with officials on court. Chair umpire Aurelie Tourte then announced the default as Djokovic’s perfect record in the season came to an end in the 4th-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.
“Dear #NoleFam thank you for your positive messages. Please also remember the linesperson 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,” Djokovic said in a social media post.
“From these moments, we grow stronger and we rise above. Sharing love with everyone. Europe here I come.”
Novak Djokovic had apologized via an Instagram post on Monday even as he stormed out of Arthur Ashe Stadium without attending a press conference following the match.
“This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the linesperson 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. 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.
“I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated with 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 wrote on Monday.
Djokovic’s former coach and tennis great Boris Becker was among the many who supported the officials’ decision to disqualify the Serb after Monday’s incident.
“I’m as shocked as anybody. Novak and I go way back. We call each other family,” Becker, working as an analyst for broadcaster Eurosport, said. “This is probably the most difficult moment in his entire professional life. He did break the rule, the decision is correct.”