Novak Djokovic has apologised on social media after he was disqualified from the US Open for hitting a line judge with a ball.

The world number one was disqualified after swatting a ball to the back of the court, inadvertently striking a line judge after Spanish player Pablo Carreno Busta broke Djokovic’s serve in the first set.

Djokovic failed to turn at the post match media conference but said in an Instagram post: “this whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person … thank God she is feeling ok. I’m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong.

“As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being. I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behavior.”

Carreno Busta, who was leading 6-5 in the first said he didn’t think Djokovic intentionally hit the official.

“I don’t think that any one of us, the players, do this (intentionally).

“It’s just I broke his serve and he threw the ball. I think that it was bad luck, no? You cannot do this, but of course I think that Novak never, never wants to hit the line umpire.

“I’m so sorry about that, because it’s not the way that I want to be in (the) quarter-finals. I was playing my match, I was playing really good and I was enjoying the match.”


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