Novak Djokovic accidentally hits line judge AGAIN during French Open quarter-final against Karen Khachanov… bringing back memories of his US Open disqualification last month
- Novak Djokovic was kicked off the US Open for hitting a line judge in annoyance
- The world No 1 accidentally struck Laura Clark in September after losing a point
- Djokovic hit another line judge in his French Open quarter-final on Monday
- The 17-time Grand Slam winner was not disqualified this time as it was accidental
It was the fourth round of a Grand Slam and in the midst of a tough first set for Novak Djokovic – was history going to repeat itself in Paris just a month on from New York?
He had lunged to attempt a service return and the ball ricocheted off his racket frame, hitting the adjacent line judge full in the face.
Lightning had struck twice, and a look of horror spread across the world No 1’s features as memories of his recent default came flooding back.
Novak Djokovic (right) hit another line judge in his French Open last-eight clash on Monday
Djokovic accidentally struck the official while trying to return a serve from Karen Khachanov
‘My gosh, it was very awkward déjà vu,’ said Djokovic, who swiftly realised there was little danger of being defaulted this time, there being a clear absence of petulance.
‘I’m actually trying to find the linesperson and see if he’s okay because I saw he had a little bit of a bruise, like redness, in that place in the head where the ball hit him.
‘I hope he’s fine. He definitely dealt with it in a very strong and brave way. Obviously because of what happened in New York, people I guess are going to make the story out of this.
‘It has happened to me and to many other players in the last 15 years that I’ve been on the tour. I’ve seen it a lot when the ball ricochets from the frame, hits someone in the stands, or a line umpire. Yeah, it was a very awkward situation.’
Djokovic will not face a disqualification this time around as the action was accidental
The world number one was shockingly disqualified for a similar incident at the US Open
He stayed on track at the French Open by winning his quarter final 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 after meeting some decent resistance from hulking Russian Karen Khachanov.
Djokovic, who had his serve broken for the first time this fortnight, could now meet Pablo Carreno-Busta. He was at the other end of the court during the Flushing Meadows incident, although the Spaniard’s fourth round was delayed by rain.
More of a cause for embarrassment on Monday was the apparent lack of action over the reckless behaviour of Alex Zverev from the day before. He stated that he had tested negative for Covid after his defeat on Sunday, when he had competed despite displaying flu-like symptoms also consistent with the virus.
Zverev told Eurosport that tournament medics must have known about his condition – a breach of semi-voluntary protocols – because his physio had asked staff for some medicine.
‘There was no obligation to state whether you were sick or not,’ said the German, adding of his illness: ‘The tournament knew it.’
Djokovic (right) hit line judge Laura Clark (middle) in a moment of annoyance in New York
Djokovic is chasing a 18th mens singles Grand Slam title at Rolland Garros this week
The French Open refused to comment on Monday, perhaps believing that he was no longer their problem as he is now out of the tournament.
With tennis lacking an overall governing body, the 23 year-old German can move on to a separate jurisdiction, the ATP Tour, with Roland Garros no longer having any control over him.
As Paris enters an upgraded state of lockdown today German player Laura Siegemund – through to the women’s quarter finals – reported that several players have been coping with stomach trouble. She summoned some potatoes and rice to eat on court during her match, having not been able to properly fuel up beforehand.
Assuming Djokovic makes the semi-finals his opponent will be one of either number five seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or Russia’s Andrey Rublev, who will meet in the last eight.
Britain’s Joe Salisbury and partner Rajeev Ram were edged out of the doubles quarter finals, falling 4-6 6-4 7-5 to Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares.