Sep/20

6

Djokovic Disqualified from 2020 US Open

Novak Djokovic’s quest to secure his 18th Grand Slam title ended today at the US Open when the world no. 1’s frustration erupted and a seemingly harmless flick of a tennis ball in the direction of a ballperson ended up hitting a lineswoman in the throat.

No doubt an accidental action, Djokovic was having problems subduing Pablo Carreno Busta. Djokovic botched three straight set points at 5-4 with the Spaniard’s forehand nipping the baseline by millimeters on one (Shot Spot corrected the original out call).

Carreno Busta, who had previously been 0-3 career vs Djokovic then broke the Serbian for a 6-5 lead. An annoyed Djokovic took a ball out of his pocket and hit it with his Head Speed Pro in the direction of the ball kid’s corner but the ball instead hit the female lineswoman in the throat.

She fell and Djokovic quickly realized the potential severity of the consequences for his lapse in judgement and quickly went to aid the victim of his accident.

The linesperson seemed to be struggling with breathing and dealing with pain from the blow to her throat. After about a ten minute delay, Djokovic was told he was defaulted. He accepted the decision and walked over to shake hands with Carreno Busta, then picked up his equipment bag and left the stadium court, without putting on his mask. Djokovic later skipped his press conference.

The defeat will be costly for Djokovic. The overwhelming odds on favorite to win this US Open, he faces harsh punishment -he will lose all ranking points and prize money earned from the tournament and he is subject now to a fine.

Djokovic’s unbeaten 2020 singles record of 29-0 is now blemished with his first “loss” of the year.

Carreno Busta will now face the winner of David Goffin vs Denis Shapovalov in the quarterfinals.

With the stunning result today, it’s official now that there will be a first time US Open champion crowned on Sunday.

It’s yet another controversial episode in the career of Djokovic who has enjoyed and endured a bittersweet year – winning the Australian Open, then being publicly bashed by the media for his disregard for the corona virus at his Adria Cup event. Djokovic will now set his sights on winning Roland Garros in Paris later this month.

(Art work by Andres Bella.)

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45 comments

  • Sam · September 6, 2020 at 10:48 pm

    If you get disqualified from a tournament, are you really obligated to do a press conference? Just wondering.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 7, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Sam, good point. Djokovic was disqualified from his press conference too.

  • Sam · September 7, 2020 at 8:19 am

    I was wondering about these things as well: 🙂

    1) If Roger Federer had done the exact same thing as Djokovic, would he have been disqualified?

    2) If a black player had done the same thing, would he or she also have been disqualified?

    3) What specific text from the rulebook states that disqualification is the only option in this kind of situation? For instance, how exactly would you prove that Djokovic was “reckless” in his behavior, while Bedene was not??

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 7, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Sam, Federer had a near incident like this about 5 years ago at an indoor tournament. He was annoyed and a missed first serve came back and he hit it in the direction of the ball kid at net and it almost hit the kid but narrowly missed, or the kid caught it, I don’t remember exactly. But it was a close call. Knowing the rule, Koenig mentioned it and it was quickly forgotten or covered up. Media made no issue of it. I wonder how Federer would have reacted had it hit the kid and he was defaulted. Would he have handled it with as much class and grace as Djokovic did yesterday. McEnroe would have flew into a rage if he made the mistake Djokovic did yesterday, but McEnroe probably would have hit a ball at a kid or linesperson, or at least I have no memory of him having done so. It sure would have been interesting to see how the USTA would try to save Serena if she ever hit a ball kid or linesperson with a ball. I would imagine they may change the rules for Serena or any prominent black player. My understanding is the rule says if you hit a ball person or linesperson with a ball hit out of frustration, it’s automatic discharge from event. It happened to Henman early in his career. Shapovalov obviously. It’s a well known rule.

  • Rafi · September 7, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    Djokovic should have got a warning for ball abuse before couple of minutes of the unfortunate incident, which might have prevented the whole thing from happening, since most players try not to get another code violation for a similar situation.
    In that context the chair umpire contributed to the incident directly or indirectly.A middle of the way solution for hitting the linesperson would be defaulting the whole set and the second set as well, and see how Djokovic would have handled that, but that’s something for the tournament officials to decide. I’m sure the same situation in a another tournament would have ended differently.
    It was clear that Djokovic was upset for not taking the set after having three break points and that injury time-out after the fall might have been used to break the momentum of Busta.Imagine Gael Monfils having the same fall would have continued play right away.
    Even though Djokovic had a 3-0 HtoH lead and considering it was only the first set of a five setter he should have stayed on course instead of getting irritated.
    Many players treated the lockdown caused by the coronavirus as a very long offcourt season and improved a lot and returned to the tour as different and improved players so they became more unpredictable.
    Djokovic also was not lucky in the sense that the point was over and Busta was going to his chair so the linesperson
    switched to idle mode in terms of alertness.
    I mean during play sometimes spectators catch a mishit ball
    or a ball coming to the crowd just because they are watching the ball and the point is not finished.
    Even in doubles how many times a partner gets hit with a ball sometimes first serves, but apparently not in the throat.
    Bottom line too many wrongs usually leads to accidents.
    I’m sure a person like Djokovic has no problems learning
    and moving on cause every new day has its own sunrise.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 8, 2020 at 7:33 am

    Rafi, Djokovic may have put too much pressure on himself to win this title. He was the heavy favorite to win. Everyone expected him to win. Busta played superb and escaped 3 set points and it triggered Djokovic to snap. He’s human too. NO one is happy the world no. 1 is out now except his rivals. Id like to see the rule for hitting an official reduced to a set penalty or a judgement call by the umpire. Default only if intentional.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 8, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Osaka and Tiafoe should take a hike through Chicago after midnight and get a reality check

  • Sam · September 8, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Scoop,

    So why are so many people criticizing Djokovic for skipping the presser then, if he had no obligation to do it?

    “Knowing the rule, Koenig mentioned it and it was quickly forgotten or covered up. Media made no issue of it.”

    Not surprising.

    “I wonder how Federer would have reacted had it hit the kid and he was defaulted.”

    Personally, I doubt he would’ve even been defaulted. 😉

    “It sure would have been interesting to see how the USTA would try to save Serena if she ever hit a ball kid or linesperson with a ball. I would imagine they may change the rules for Serena or any prominent black player.”

    Not only that, they’d probably give the black player a trophy and a medal for doing so. 😛

    “My understanding is the rule says if you hit a ball person or linesperson with a ball hit out of frustration, it’s automatic discharge from event.”

    But to me, it’s a stupid rule. If it’s wrong to hit a ball out of frustration, then the act should be penalized *regardless* of where the ball ends up. How can you penalize someone for something they can’t really control??

    It’s of like never handing tickets out for speeding—only when the speeder ends up crashing into another car. 😛

    “It happened to Henman early in his career. Shapovalov obviously. It’s a well known rule.”

    Well, Djokovic should’ve known better. But the rule doesn’t really jibe with common sense.

  • Sam · September 8, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    “A middle of the way solution for hitting the linesperson would be defaulting the whole set and the second set as well, and see how Djokovic would have handled that, but that’s something for the tournament officials to decide. I’m sure the same situation in a another tournament would have ended differently.”

    But if that’s the case, are the current rules *really* so black-and-white? Isn’t deciding whether the player was “reckless” a judgment call anyway? I watched the video, and Djokovic seemed somewhat careless, but not *grossly* so.

    “Id like to see the rule for hitting an official reduced to a set penalty or a judgement call by the umpire. Default only if intentional.”

    Yes, that would make a lot more sense. And as Rafi pointed out, warnings should given for ball abuse before something more serious happens. So, you could say the chair umpire was somewhat negligent as well.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 8, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    Sam you made the best point – Djokovic was disqualified from the tournament, he should have no obligations left to the tournament, such as a press conference. He was disqualified. He should fight the USTA fine for skipping the press conf.

    I saw Hewitt do it once also, at the end of his career he was playing Mike Russell in Memphis. They both hated each other. Russell won the second set and forced a third set TB. Hewitt was annoyed after losing a point and picked up a ball and hit the ball down to the other end and it almost hit the ball kid. Jimmy Arias was commentating and said if he hit the kid he would be defaulted. Djokovic was unlucky. I think the pressure got to him, everyone expected him to win. He was not enjoying the tournament, too much pressure and expectation and Busta’s fine play did him in.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 8, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    But some players like Serena can get really nasty in the heat of battle so maybe the rule has to be very strict to deter such incidents or even a tragedy. I saw Jim Courier hit a chair umpire what looked like intentionally, with a ball. He was playing Sampras at Miami Open, he lost a close first set tiebreaker and was annoyed by some of the line calls on Pete’s serving. Pete started the second set serving and was ahead 40-love. Courier, from the ad court receiving serve, hit a return right at the chair umpire and hit him in the leg. Courier than gave a sarcastic “Sorry.” But the two ESPN commentators Drysdale and Stolle clearly thought it was intentional. It’s on you tube. Didn’t Agassi hit a lineswoman with a ball at Wimbledon? So you can understand why the rule is so strict. Players do snap on court sometimes. And to subtley and sneakily strike a ball at an official or kid must be deterred. Even a nice kid like Shapovalov had that very questionable incident in Davis Cup. Players do snap. They are under enormous pressures we can’t comprehend, from sacrificing their childhoods to win majors. Djokovic played with fire and got burned.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 8, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    Interesting words from an oldcusta tournament rival. About Tiafoe…Scoop Malinowski Tiafoe is a nice kid, being taught to be a racist by the democratic leadership. If he fully buys it, like it appears to be, he will likely not achieve his full potential because he will have a reason to fail, which the losers who are teaching him, will convince him that it isn’t his fault. That would be a terrible outcome for a kid that has worked so hard to get where he is. For example, he quit trying in the second set last nights. Lost 6-1, 6-0. It was a bad showing for such a great player. But his fight, which is normally pretty strong, was gone. I wonder why.

  • Sam · September 8, 2020 at 10:34 pm

    “Sam you made the best point – Djokovic was disqualified from the tournament, he should have no obligations left to the tournament, such as a press conference. He was disqualified.”

    Thanks, Scoop, but I really can’t take credit for it. 😉 Someone on MTF came up with the idea, and I was just wondering if it was indeed true.

    “He should fight the USTA fine for skipping the press conf.”

    Hope someone encourages him to do this.

    “He was not enjoying the tournament, too much pressure and expectation and Busta’s fine play did him in.”

    Well, he should have less pressure in France at least. 🙂

    “But some players like Serena can get really nasty in the heat of battle so maybe the rule has to be very strict to deter such incidents or even a tragedy.”

    Are you saying that the rules changed after 2009, when Serena violently threatened that female official?

    “But the two ESPN commentators Drysdale and Stolle clearly thought it was intentional. It’s on you tube. Didn’t Agassi hit a lineswoman with a ball at Wimbledon? So you can understand why the rule is so strict.”

    The thing is, if they’re allowing players to do angry stuff like that in the first place, then the rule is *not* very strict. A strict rule would clamp down on that kind of behavior immediately—before anyone gets hurt. That would make a whole lot more sense.

    “Djokovic played with fire and got burned.”

    Well, he’d been playing fast and loose with the rules for a while, so yes, unfortunately it caught up with him.

    As for Tiafoe and Osaka, are they “BLM” kind of people? If so, what am I not surpised? 😛

  • Christopher Stone · September 8, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    Not impressed with Tiafoe. Before match I predicted 2, 2, 2 score for Medvedev. Particularly not impressed with attempt to hit Medvedev with sitter and then sticking his middle finger in the air when Medvedev reacted to lob it over him. Character is thus revealed. Perhaps best explanation is Scoop’s, kids is being manipulated for political purposes, always has an excuse and chip on his shoulder.

    80 mph 2nd serves, wtf, poor for a woman pro player.
    Is he the oldest looking 22 year old you have ever seen? Dude looks 25-26.
    January 22 (1998) birthday is suspiciously perfect for tennis, after Orange Bowl, Eddie Herr, and Winter Nationals.

  • mat4 · September 9, 2020 at 6:24 am

    There is footage on Twitter that shows that it was completely unintentional, that Novak was not disturbed, not in anger, and that he hit the ball mildly. Moreover, the line judge admitted in an interview that she does not know avoiding the ball. Here is the link: https://t.co/N9RhOeVkh4?amp=1

    Federer hit twice ball boys in similar situations. He also hit the ball in the public in anger. He was never defaulted, nor even fined.

    Novak, at least, deserved a review from the umpire and the supervisor. They did not do it. He was fined 260K $ which is unprecedented.

    I will argue that the rule about physical abuse (and its definition) left enough room for him not to be defaulted, and I am absolutely sure Federer would not have been defaulted.

    In a sense, I prefer him being defaulted — he never had the privileges Federer and Nadal have, and it will make his career even more impressive. Unfortunately, people will forget, or ignore, that tournament directors concerted with Federer about the speed of the surface (Caujolle, for the Paris Bercy tournament), or that Nadal directly chose the balls for the tournament (Babolat, Roland Garros, this year). These are all reprisals for the creation of the PTPA and nothing else.

  • mat4 · September 9, 2020 at 6:26 am

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 9, 2020 at 6:32 am

    Mat4, I think Djokovic lost control of the match and then lost control of his mind. He was enraged by blowing 3 set points and pcb hitting two lines and his own hitting two net cords. He snapped in rage. Smashed that one ball earlier in rage and when he lost the game for 56 he was even more enraged. He knew 2 people were back there yet hit that ball intentionally at head level. I think in that split second he lost his mind and didn’t care. Then when he saw the damage he immediately came back to his senses and tried to o.j. his way out of it with charm.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 9, 2020 at 6:34 am

    Players snap. It happens in hockey baseball and tennis. He was seething mad in that split second he didn’t care. He lost his rational thought. Djokovic deserved the punishment. He knows it and accepted it gracefully.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 9, 2020 at 7:25 am

    I saw Tyson lose his mind vs Holyfield, he thought he was being head butted and he was getting beaten up and he bit Holyfield ear off. I saw Dale Hunter blind side Pierre Turgeon from behind after Turgeon scored an overtime game winner, total crazy cheap shot could have killed him. We saw Bagdhatis break about eight racquets. Players snap. I think Djokovic snapped but he disguised it. He could have smashed the racquet or hit the ball out of the stadium but he cloaked his rage and hit the ball back to the wall, face level, where he KNEW two people were (linesperson and ball kid). I think for a split second Djokovic lost is mind and didn’t care if he hit a person in the head, notice how he looked back as soon as he hit it, hoping it didn’t hit anyone, then he instantly turned into nice guy Novak, heart love for everyone. But it was too late. The damage was done.

  • Rafi · September 9, 2020 at 11:20 am

    I totally agree with Sam on comparing speed of the ball to a speeding car when he said. “It’s of like never handing tickets out for speeding-only when the speeder ends up crashing into another car.”
    People often talk about whether an action such as ball abuse was intentional or not, however we tend to forget that the speed of the sent ball is the most crucial factor.
    If Djokovic has sent the ball at a very low speed to the point of minimizing the possibility of harming anybody to almost zero,the other factors become irrelevant.Similarly if s’body hits another car in traffic at a very low speed most of the time the driver of the front car doesn’t even bother going out the car to check for damages in contrast with a high speed accident on a freeway.

    In that sense the penalty should be based on the speed of the ball outside of playing points such as sending a ball to a ballperson or to the crowd.(a slow ball might not even reach the crowd).
    In an example if a server like Karlovic or any other player sends a 220km/h first serve to the other side of the court and hits an eye of the linesperson who ends up in the emergency room,there is no way he’s getting a code violation(correct me if I’m wrong) because it’s the responsibility of the linesperson to watch the ball during a live point and move out of the way whenever necessary.
    In Djokovic’s case the incident happened AFTER the point was finished even though speed of the ball was not similar to a serve the fact that it’s a surprise to a linesman who was in idle at the moment made it a severe violation.
    In another example if a winner of a match sends the ball to the crowd as an expression of joy and hit a spectator in the face who was eating pizza and drinking soda does the player gets a fine or something?
    In my opinion any kind of ball use outside of playing points or warm-up should be regulated based on the SPEED of the ball only because of the potential of someone getting hurt.
    I’m afraid because of such incidents the day will come where a lot of tournament organizers around the world will eventually exchange linesperson or judges with technology altogether.Even chair umpires if they are going to sit in the best seat of a court while getting paid without taking good decisions will have to reevaluate their role.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 9, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Rafi, the speed of the ball Djokovic hit at the linesperson was quite fast and hard enough to do damage and cause concern on his part. He was clearly enraged when he did it, as he showed when he smashed the earlier ball. He was only angrier after blowing that game for 56. There is no defending Djokovic here. He screwed up and he has to live with the consequences of having blown what would have most likely been his 18th major. But Carreno Busta’s fine play contributed to Djokovic’s demise. Overshadowed by it all was that Carreno Busta amazing clutch play the whole set and especially from 45 down and love 40 down he suddenly turned into the best player in the world. And beat the best player in the world at his own game.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 9, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    No one will remember this but when Marcelo Rios beat Agassi in the Miami Open final to become world no. 1, after match point he flung his Yonex racquet into the crowd. He threw it hard too, it could have seriously hurt someone. Apparently it did not injure anyone. I do wonder if he could have been defaulted of the title if the racquet did hit an old lady in the head? I also wonder what became of that racquet )

  • Sam · September 9, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    “He was clearly enraged when he did it, as he showed when he smashed the earlier ball. He was only angrier after blowing that game for 56.”

    Scoop, I have a couple of questions:

    1) Why wasn’t Djokovic given any warnings for his earlier behavior in the match?

    2) Why didn’t the officials bother to review the video before disqualifying him?

    Even if there’s no defending Djokovic, there’s certainly room to criticize the officials for their failures in these two key areas.

    It would also be interesting to know the approximate speed of the ball that Djokovic hit.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 9, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    Sam, he should have gotten a warning after the first ball blast. I think the officials saw what he did on the second ball blast and the result of the ball hitting the woman’s throat. No replay was necessary. They saw it, it was clear as day what happened. He hit the ball hard, it was a flat hit, not a rainbow blooper, he hit it hard and at head level. He lost control of the set and then he lost control of his mind. It happens a lot in tennis, most players are crazy and playing competitive tennis makes you crazier. That is why the rule is so strict is my guess. Players snap.

  • Rafi · September 9, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    Cheers to Sam who has 2 legitimate questions which makes me ponder as well.
    In my opinion regarding the first question, any warning(s) given previously to Djokovic or any other player in a similar situation would have probably saved us from the whole drama that followed.And that’s what raises some questions that even though the rules are like black and white the application of those same rules might be grey for various reasons which includes the level of expertise and experience under a chair umpire’s belt.
    I’ve just learned from a soccer fan today while discussing this incident that in soccer an enraged player who sends a ball to the crowd can receive some kind of penalty regardless of the consequences.

    About the 2nd question.I also wondered why the officials didn’t spent few minutes reviewing the video which probably was taken from different angles and instead spent more time on other things which can be equally important.
    Tennis was a pioneer in using the Hawk-eye but other sports evolved faster in other areas such as video reviewing which is very common nowadays in many sports such as soccer.

    I also believe that the absence of the crowd helped mostly players such as Busta and the younger players during the tournament who usually crack under pressure versus more experienced and top ranked players who usually play better under pressure.In the days before the coronavirus people usually talked about how the top 10 players are doing versus the rest of the field, nowadays it’s like the top 30 versus the rest of the field and that’s because of the lack of pressure from the crowd.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 9, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    Agree Rafi, Busta is the biggest beneficiary so far of the no crowd factor. He’s a great solid player but he has a small fan base. He’s low key and not much is known about him. He’s unsung and he seems to prefer it that way. He played incredible tennis vs th ebest player in the world at 45 down and love 40, he was the best player in the world at the end of that first set and his extremely high level caused Djokovic to falter and then lose his mind. I would not bet against Busta.

  • Sam · September 10, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    “Sam, he should have gotten a warning after the first ball blast.”

    Scoop, so the umpires just pick and choose when to enforce the rules? How much is *their* fine going to be? In most cases, it’s crazy to disqualify someone when you failed to get them a warning the first place.

    Here’s what Uncle Toni had to say about the matter:

    “There is no intention to hit the linesman with a ball, obviously, but not even to intimidate her. There is no anger or aggressiveness in his gesture, although it can be considered the recklessness to which, in effect, the rule refers and the reason why I understand that it has been applied. The dilemma was, in my opinion, to judge whether such recklessness was of sufficient magnitude.

    “I was quite surprised that such a relentless decision was made without further visualizing the action. If today we turn to the Hawk Eye to discern whether a ball has been good or bad, I think that the proper thing would have been to study all the gestures more carefully. I believe that this rule should be modified somewhat. A punishment with such repercussions for those who suffer it should respond to an intention or a really reckless behavior and not, as has been the case, to bad luck.”

    If the “right thing to do” here is so crystal-clear, then why do you and Uncle Toni have completely opposite views on this matter?? 😉 Toni did not think Djokovic was noticeably angry or reckless, and he was very surprised there was no video review.

  • Sam · September 10, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    “Cheers to Sam who has 2 legitimate questions which makes me ponder as well.”

    Thanks, Rafi. 🙂

    “In my opinion regarding the first question, any warning(s) given previously to Djokovic or any other player in a similar situation would have probably saved us from the whole drama that followed.”

    Right. So we’re going to pin the whole thing on Djokovic, when the officials failed to do their jobs properly?

    “application of those same rules might be grey for various reasons which includes the level of expertise and experience under a chair umpire’s belt.”

    Yes, in spite of what you hear from many, I think there are quite a few gray areas here.

    “I’ve just learned from a soccer fan today while discussing this incident that in soccer an enraged player who sends a ball to the crowd can receive some kind of penalty regardless of the consequences.”

    As it should be.

    “About the 2nd question.I also wondered why the officials didn’t spent few minutes reviewing the video which probably was taken from different angles and instead spent more time on other things which can be equally important.”

    Besides Uncle Toni, Brad Gilbert said this as well.

    “I also believe that the absence of the crowd helped mostly players such as Busta and the younger players during the tournament who usually crack under pressure versus more experienced and top ranked players who usually play better under pressure.”

    Good point.

    “In the days before the coronavirus people usually talked about how the top 10 players are doing versus the rest of the field, nowadays it’s like the top 30 versus the rest of the field and that’s because of the lack of pressure from the crowd.”

    Makes things more exciting at least. 🙂

  • Sam · September 10, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Scoop, I have another question:

    On MTF a few days ago, you wrote this:

    “I like the way Djokovic accepted this injustice.”

    If it’s indeed clear as day that Djokovic should have been defaulted, then exactly what “injustice” are you referring to? 🙂

    Also, I think the tennis rules are half-baked. As far as I can tell, you can threaten an official with any kind of bodily harm (including murder), yet there is no rule that you should be automatically disqualified for this. In the real world, you could be *arrested* for making such a threat.

    Who wrote the rulebook—a sixth-grader? 😛

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    Sam, first part -Djokovic knew better than anyone the linesperson and ballkid were behind him in the area he hit the ball at face level. So in that split second, we really don’t know if it was intentional or not. Djokovic was raging mad, even more enraged than he was minutes earlier when he smashed that ball into the side wall after losing the point. He disguised his rage in casual nonchalance but he hit that ball quite hard to the wall behind him where he knew two people were. His other options were to scream, smash the racquet and just vent all the anger out. He chose a different approach, to hit the ball in a casual manner. I think it was passive aggressive rage being vented. To bluff everyone into thinking he was not raging. But we knew he was by the first ball smash and having lost control of the match. I believe if Serena or Federer did the same thing (Federer would probably never do such a thing) they would have not been defaulted. That’s my belief. So in a sense it was somewhat of an injustice for Djokovic. The world’s best player usually gets special privileges in many forms, practice courts, scheduling, etc. Uncle Toni must not have watched the entire set for if he did he would have known how angry Djokovic was. He was as mad as I’ve ever seen him, evidenced by the rage he smashed that first ball into the side wall. Why he didn’t get a warning was an error by the chair ump and it might have been the slap in the face of cold water he needed at that moment.

  • Rafi · September 11, 2020 at 10:24 am

    I agree with Scoop, it happened that I watched the set midway and on, and I felt that when Busta’s ball licked the line that It might change the momentum.
    It wasn’t fully bad luck for Djokovic as Uncle Toni mentioned.To be precise(from my perspective) the bad luck for everybody involved would be the location where the lady was hit.Had the linesperson been taller or shorter in size would have made a difference(hundreds of possibilities)
    Also I wonder if she was hit anywhere else like the foot,thigh etc.. was it going to be worth defaulting any player? (Another grey area).
    Even getting a ball in the throat has grey areas. Logically a throat must have a “sweetspot” in terms of where a person can get the most pain versus one inch or to inches to the left,right up or down. I’m not questioning the integrity of the linesperson involved but it’s worth knowing whether she got the ball in the worst possible spot on the throat or not.
    Besides Scoop once you replied to Sam that “No replay was necessary.They saw it, it was clear as day what happened”.
    If that’s the excuse for the officals for not reviewing the video so why bother interviewing the other linesperson or staff member as well?

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Extra sets of eyes to tell what happened was a part of the investigation. They were all on court and saw it clearly. We only saw it because the camera man captured the incident with a bad angle, possibly inadvertently. If the ball hit her foot or finger, the rule says he should still be defaulted. That would have been very interesting to see what the tournament umpire would have ruled then. Or if the ball missed her ear by an inch. Imagine Djokovic would have sweet talked his way out of it. And they would have caved in and let him play on. But they made the right decision. He hit that ball at face height, not ankle height. And he hit that ball hard. I believe Djokovic lost is mind in that split second, after having lost control of the match. He could have simply hit the ball into the empty seats or to the roof. That he hit that ball hard to where he KNEW 2 people were stationed is the disturbing part he can’t explain away.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Rios, before his Miami Open final vs Agassi in 1998, in the locker room before the match kicked a tennis ball which zipped by Agassi’s ear and missed hitting him by an inch. A friend of Rios who was with him in the locker room told me this story. Agassi did not make any issue of it, but imagine he would have it the ball hit him. For those who don’t know, Rios won the match in 3 straight sets (best of 5 back then). Just thought I’d share this story )

  • Rafi · September 11, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Hi to all,
    Sam wrote “In most cases it’s crazy to disqualify someone when you failed to get them a warning in the first place.
    I agree failing to get any player a warning for a clear code it’s the best excuse a more grounded Djokovic could have used or used for his defence to reduce his “punishment” something the senior officers of the tournament also failed to contemplate.
    As as I know only the best chair umpires are supposed to run big encounters assumingly with very good credentials.
    (small surprise there).
    Scoop said in his last post “The world’s
    best player usually gets special privileges in many forms, practice courts, scheduling etc.”
    And that raises the following question.
    Did the chair umpire closed his eye on the first ball abuse because of those special privileges(hoping that Djokovic will regain his composure) or just negligence of some kind.
    In both cases it’s not good for tennis.
    There need to be some consistency in enforcing the rules and not “rules are only made to be broken” type of thing.
    If a false fire alarm goes on every day in a building eventually people won’t take the alarm seriously until it’too late.
    In that context special privileges can sometimes turn out to be a double-edged sword.
    The failure of getting a warning code previously has backfired.(whatever the reason).
    Even getting linespersons was only a privilege for the best
    courts and players, which also backfired because other players on the other courts could send as many balls and with any speed to the backcourt assumingly without getting a warning and ultimately kept the “privilege” of staying in the tournamentt as long as possible.

  • Sam · September 11, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    “So in that split second, we really don’t know if it was intentional or not.”

    True.

    “I think it was passive aggressive rage being vented.”

    That sounds accurate.

    “I believe if Serena or Federer did the same thing (Federer would probably never do such a thing) they would have not been defaulted. That’s my belief.”

    I agree. I don’t think Federer has any less anger than Djokovic, but he’s more clever at concealing it. So yes, he probably would’ve been smarter than to do that.

    “So in a sense it was somewhat of an injustice for Djokovic. The world’s best player usually gets special privileges in many forms, practice courts, scheduling, etc.”

    OK, thanks for explaining. Speaking of MTF, there’s an American guy named Harold who posts on there. Is that Harold the Nazi?? 🙂

    “Uncle Toni must not have watched the entire set for if he did he would have known how angry Djokovic was. He was as mad as I’ve ever seen him, evidenced by the rage he smashed that first ball into the side wall.”

    If he indeed snapped, do you think maybe he could’ve pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity”??? 😉

    “Why he didn’t get a warning was an error by the chair ump and it might have been the slap in the face of cold water he needed at that moment.”

    Exactly. That’s why I think it was irresponsible for them to give him an automatic default (without video review) when the chair umpire was guilty of what could be called “contributory negligence.” 😛

  • Sam · September 11, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    “Besides Scoop once you replied to Sam that ‘No replay was necessary.They saw it, it was clear as day what happened’. If that’s the excuse for the officals for not reviewing the video so why bother interviewing the other linesperson or staff member as well?”

    Good point, Rafi. Besides, even if they didn’t think it was “necessary,” considering that they screwed up by not giving Djokovic a warning earlier, they should’ve reviewed the video *anyway*. By not doing so, they give the impression that they were eager to kick him to the curb.

  • Sam · September 11, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    “If the ball hit her foot or finger, the rule says he should still be defaulted. That would have been very interesting to see what the tournament umpire would have ruled then. Or if the ball missed her ear by an inch. Imagine Djokovic would have sweet talked his way out of it. And they would have caved in and let him play on. But they made the right decision.”

    Well, as I said, I think the “rules” are half-baked at best. Threatening someone with murder seems to be a non-expellable offense, which is absolutely crazy. And hitting angry balls all over the place will be tolerated ad nauseam—UNLESS you actually hit someone. Ultimately, rules should pass the test of common sense, and the current rules do not. 😛

  • Sam · September 11, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    “Agassi did not make any issue of it, but imagine he would have it the ball hit him.”

    Scoop, what could Agassi have done in such a situation?

    “As . . . I know only the best chair umpires are supposed to run big encounters assumingly with very good credentials. (small surprise there).”

    Rafi, I don’t quite understand what you’re saying here.

    “Did the chair umpire closed his eye on the first ball abuse because of those special privileges(hoping that Djokovic will regain his composure) or just negligence of some kind. In both cases it’s not good for tennis. There need to be some consistency in enforcing the rules and not ‘rules are only made to be broken’ type of thing. If a false fire alarm goes on every day in a building eventually people won’t take the alarm seriously until it’s too late.”

    Excellent point.

    “which also backfired because other players on the other courts could send as many balls and with any speed to the backcourt assumingly without getting a warning and ultimately kept the ‘privilege’ of staying in the tournamentt as long as possible.”

    Yes, that’s another significant problem.

    In the final analysis, Djokovic certainly deserves his share of the blame, but so do the officials—and the so-called rules. So, to pin the whole incident on the “evil Djokovic,” as many are doing, seems rather shortsighted.

    Uncle Toni may have missed a few minor points in his analysis, but I think for the most part his assessment is an astute one.

  • Rafi · September 12, 2020 at 12:36 am

    Hello Sam,
    Sorry for the grammar, I was trying to say that my guess would be that most of the time (if not all the time) they hire a high level chair umpire to officiate a match that involves at least one high ranked in a big tournament such as the US Open.Since they are many levels of chair umpires ranging from small tournaments to Grand Slams.

    So if it was not because of “contributory negligence” it could be that the chair umpire gave Djokovic a chance after that first ball abuse as a result of those “special privileges” that a top ranked players gets sometimes which
    turned out to be not so special(the privileges) after all.

    Of course that doesn’t turn Djokovic to a saint and “certainly deserves his share of the blame,and so do the officials-and the so called rules” or their interpretation.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 12, 2020 at 8:23 am

    No idea what happened to harold. maybe he’s become a blm antifa terrorist. The site is better off without him, happy to report that we are getting more site visitors now than ever before.

  • Sam · September 12, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    “Hello Sam, Sorry for the grammar”

    No problem, Rafi. 🙂

    “I was trying to say that my guess would be that most of the time (if not all the time) they hire a high level chair umpire to officiate a match that involves at least one high ranked in a big tournament such as the US Open.Since they are many levels of chair umpires ranging from small tournaments to Grand Slams.”

    Okay, I can understand that better now.

    “So if it was not because of ‘contributory negligence’ it could be that the chair umpire gave Djokovic a chance after that first ball abuse as a result of those ‘special privileges'”

    I didn’t actually see the match, but weren’t there a couple of possible ball-abuse incidents before the judge got hit?

    “that a top ranked players gets sometimes which turned out to be not so special(the privileges) after all.”

    Well, if so, then the chair umpire’s got a serious consistency problem. First he’s sugar-sweet, and then he throws the book at Djokovic, without bothering to even look at the video. As Pat Benatar once put it: “You come on like a flame, then you turn a cold shoulder. Fire and ice!” 😉

    “Of course that doesn’t turn Djokovic to a saint and “certainly deserves his share of the blame,and so do the officials-and the so called rules” or their interpretation.”

    Right. There’s plenty of blame to go around!! 🙂 It’s unfortunate, though, that Djokovic couldn’t have appealed the decision because they failed to give him a warning first. Of course, he could’ve tried to sue the USTA over the decision, but he has more to lose than gain, I’d say.

  • Sam · September 12, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    “No idea what happened to harold.”

    Well, this guy on MTF posts fairly regularly. Of course, “Harold” is not exactly an uncommon name, so it could be someone else.

    “maybe he’s become a blm antifa terrorist.”

    Found his true calling, I guess. 😉

    “The site is better off without him, happy to report that we are getting more site visitors now than ever before.”

    That’s great. And with some of your other former accusers having hit the road as well, the level of acrimony seems to have hit an all-time low! 🙂

    It’s funny how abusive people tend to think that, if they leave your life, somehow they’re *punishing* you. Well, it’s exactly the opposite!! LOL.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 13, 2020 at 8:45 am

    Sam, I’m pretty sure they all still tune into this site, as they loved reading and visiting because we are one of the best tennis sites on the planet IMHO. Where else will you get biofiles with players, inside information like Gaudio punching McEnroe, the Djokovic vs Roddick locker room brawl, or Mouratoglou paying Serena to appear as her coach, etc.? They are welcome to read and visit but not make crazy political comments.

  • Sam · September 13, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    “Sam, I’m pretty sure they all still tune into this site”

    Not surprised, Scoop. You know they’re GONNA have to face it, they’re ADDICTED to Tennis Prose!! LOL. 🙂

    Speaking of Biofiles, where did you interview Coric? Was there a language barrier at all?

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 13, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    I’ve been told by many readers they love our site, some even said more than the Tennis magazine site, despite a huge budget difference. I interviewed Coric at US Open a few years ago. Super nice approachable young man, makes you like him instantly.

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