‘I can’t promise or guarantee I won’t do it again’: Novak Djokovic admits he may act recklessly AGAIN as he vows to try to change his ways after a call with the line judge he hit before being kicked out of the US Open
- Novak Djokovic struck a line judge with a tennis ball during this year’s US Open
- The world number one was immediately disqualified for the shocking action
- The Serbian could not guarantee it would not happen again in his career
Novak Djokovic admits he was right to be disqualified from the US Open for hitting a line judge but has refused to promise the shocking moment will never happen again in his career.
The world number one spoke at a press conference in Rome for the first time since he was dramatically ejected from the year’s second grand slam for hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball struck in annoyance.
The Serbian player described the incident as ‘unfortunate’ for both him and the line judge but also accepted what he did was wrong.
World number one Novak Djokovic has accepted his US Open disqualification last month
Djokovic said: ‘Of course it was a shock to finish the US Open the way things finished for me. Of course it could have happened earlier in my career, it could have happened to many players.
‘It was just unfortunate it did hit the line umpire in an unfortunate place. There was a lot of speculation about whether it was deserved. I accepted it, I moved on.
‘I cannot promise or cannot guarantee that I will never ever do anything similar to that in my life. I’m going to try my best, obviously, but anything is possible in life.’
Line judge Laura Clark collapsed to the ground and could be heard gasping for breath.
Djokovic was booted out of the US Open for striking a line judge in the throat with a ball
Djokovic continued: ‘I felt really sorry to cause the shock and drama to her. I felt very good about myself, my game.
‘It was totally unexpected and very unintended but, when you hit the ball like that, you have a chance to hit somebody that is on the court.
‘I accepted it and I had to move on. Of course I didn’t forget about it, I don’t think I’ll ever forget about it.’
The majority of the tennis community criticised Djokovic for his shocking outburst, with close friend Daniela Hantuchova revealing that ‘the anger (becomes) out of control’ regarding the Serbian star.
Djokovic was immediately disqualified after the incident and the Serbian accepted this charge
The upside for Djokovic was that it gave him more time to prepare on clay for this week’s Italian Open and the French Open starting on September 27.
Djokovic said: ‘I don’t think I’ll have any major issues coming back to the tour and being able to perform well. I have my first chance here in Rome.
‘It’s great I think I have a tournament a week or 10 days after it happened because I feel the earlier I get back in competition mode the faster I’ll overcome the memory and re-programme it. I’m hoping for the best.
Djokovic (right) also admitted he phoned line judge Laura Clark (middle) to check she was fine
Djokovic also tweeted his support for US Open finalists Alex Zverev and Dominic Thiem
‘I spent some time with my family and I looked at my shoulder that I hurt a little bit when I fell down. It’s OK for now so I’m going to be playing Rome and hopefully getting far here.’
The world number one also took to social media to congratulate US Open finalists Dominic Thiem and Alexander ‘Sasha’ Zverev on a brilliant match on Sunday.
World number three Thiem came from two sets down against his close friend from Germany to claim his first ever Grand Slam title after five thrilling sets.
Djokovic tweeted a picture of Thiem and Zverev embracing and captioned it: ‘This is what sport is all about. Respect, appreciation and friendship. Thank you Domi and Sasha for standing strong for your character values and seeing always what matters the most – love & respect for each other. Congratulations to both of you.’
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