The Scotsman

Mcenroe warns Djokovic that he may never live down ‘rookie er­ror

● World No 1 vows to learn les­son from US Open de­fault after ball hit line-judge

- By EVE FODENS Sports · Tennis · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Novak Djokovic · John McEnroe · US Open · United States of America · Arthur Ashe · Instagram · Rajeev Ram · Jamie Murray · Neal Skupski · Bruno Soares

John McEnroe has warned No­vak Djokovic he will have to face up to be­ing the “bad guy” for the rest of his ca­reer after the world No 1 was de­faulted from the US Open for strik­ing a ball which hit a line-judge.

McEnroe, him­self no stranger to grand slam de­faults, ac­cused Djokovic of a “rookie mis­take” after the in­ci­dent, which saw him tossed out of the tour­na­ment towards the end of his first set against Pablo Car­reno Busta.

The Serb tweeted an apol­ogy hours later but, hav­ing al­ready courted controvers­y this year by stag­ing an ill-fated tour­na­ment amid the coron­avirus pan­demic, Mcenroe be­lieves Djokovic will struggle to live the in­ci­dent down.

McEnro e told ESPN: “The pres­sure just got to him, I think. A lot’s been go­ing on off the court, it’s ob­vi­ously af­fected him and now whether he likes it or not he’s go­ing to be the bad guy for the rest of his ca­reer.

“It was a rookie mis­take made by him to hit a ball back where he wasn’t even look­ing where he was hit­ting it. He’s been there and done that, and cer­tainly I know from some ex­pe­ri­ence that you’ve got to be care­ful out there.”

McEnroe was the first player to be de­faulted from a grand slam tour­na­ment at the 1990 Aus­tralian Open, after pick­ing up a se­ries of code vi­o­la­tions dur­ing his match against Mikael Pern­fors. And Mcenroe ad­mit­ted he wished there could have been some other so­lu­tion that would have en­abled Djokovic to avoid be­ing de­faulted for the in­ci­dent.

“I’d like to tell you I dis­agree with it and I’d like to find a dif­fer­ent way to con­tinue to play – that would ob­vi­ously have been pref­aced by whether or not the lines woman’ s OK ,” added Mcenroe.

“You’d like to at least think be­cause it was ob­vi­ously not in­ten­tional, that you try to fig­ure out a way to keep an all­time great player go­ing after his­tory on the court but I get that the rules state you’ve got to treat ev­ery­one the same.”

The top seed and 17- time grand slam cham­pion had just dropped serve to trail his Span­ish op­po­nent 6-5 in the first set of their four th-round match on Arthur Ashe Sta­dium.

Djokovic, who had missed three set points at 5-4 be­fore hurt­ing his shoul­der in a fall, hit a ball be­hind him with­out look­ing that struck a fe­male line judge in the throat.

The 33- year-old wrote on In­sta­gram: “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.”

The line judge col­lapsed to the court and could be heard gas ping for air as Djokovic rushed over to check on her con­di­tion.

Djokovic pleaded his case to tour­na­ment ref­eree So eren Friemel and grand slam su­per­vi­sor An­dreas Egli, but the of­fi­cials’ mind was made up.

He sub­se­quently ac­cepted the de­ci­sion, say­ing in his state­ment: “I need to go back within and work on my dis­ap­point­ment and turn this all into a les­son for my grow th and evo­lu­tion as a player and hu­man be­ing.

“I apol­o­gise to the@ u sopen tour­na­ment and ev­ery­one as­so­ci­ated for my be­hav­iour. 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.”

Mean­while, Jamie Mur­ray and Neal Skup­ski’s US Open run ended with a quar­ter-fi­nal loss to Bruno Soares and Mate Pavic in the men’s dou­bles.

Mur­ray won the ti­tle with S oares four years ago but it was the Brazil­ian who had the last laugh here last night in a 6-2, 7-6 (4) vic­tory.

Joe Sal­is­bury, play­ing with Amer­i­can Ra­jeev Ram, as now the only Bri­tish player left.

 ??  ?? 0 No­vak Djokovic pleads case.
0 No­vak Djokovic pleads case.

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