The lineswoman who was hit in the throat by a ball from Novak Djokovic, leading to his ejection from the US Open, may return to work by the end of the event. The line umpire has faced abuse on social media since their encounter and she is being monitored by the tournament doctor in her hotel.
Djokovic used his own social media platform on Monday to appeal for compassion after the line judge’s username was published in the Serbian media and some Djokovic fans directed abusive comments at the official. “Please also remember the linesperson that was hit by the ball last night needs our community’s support too,” he wrote. “She’s done nothing wrong at all. I ask you to stay especially supportive and caring to her during this time.”
The United States Tennis Association also confirmed Djokovic has been fined $10,000 in addition to forfeiting his $250,000 (£190,000 prize money. He was defaulted on Sunday after firing a ball in frustration in his fourth‑round match against Pablo Carreño Busta following the loss of his serve at 5-6 in the first set, which accidentally struck the line umpire’s neck, causing her to fall to the ground, reports The Guardian.
Shortly after his ejection, the USTA confirmed Djokovic would forfeit the points earned at the tournament in addition to his fourth-round prize money. The $10,000 announced on Monday falls under the category of unsportsmanlike conduct, which carries a maximum fine of $20,000.
The tournament director, Soeren Friemel, said: “Any code violation there is a part of discretion to it but in this instance, I don’t think there was any chance of any opportunity of any other decision other than defaulting Novak, because the facts were so clear, so obvious, that the line umpire was clearly hurt and Novak was angry.
“He hit the ball recklessly, angrily back and taking everything into consideration, there was no discretion involved.”