Novak Djokovic apologised for his US Open disqualification on Sunday, declaring himself “extremely sorry” for the moment of madness which saw him defaulted from the tournament.
In a statement on Instagram just hours after his sensational exit in New York, the Serbian world number one said he had been left “really sad and empty” by the controversy.
The 33-year-old was ousted from the tournament after accidentally hitting a tennis ball into the throat of a line official during his fourth round match with Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.
Here’s the world No 1’s statement:
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. 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 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.— via Instagram / Novak Djokovic
Djokovic left Flushing Meadows without speaking to reporters following his exit. He is one of only a handful of players to be defaulted from a Grand Slam tournament ever since John McEnroe was infamously booted out of the 1990 Australian Open.
The disqualification also brought to an end Djokovic’s unbeaten 26-match streak in 2020 during which he won the Australian Open.
(With AFP inputs)