In the wake of Novak Djokovic disqualification from the US Open Sunday for unintentionally hitting linesman Laura Clark in the throat with a tennis ball, a friend of hers says she worries about her anger issues.
“Sometimes I feel like the anger gets out of hand,” said Daniela Hantuchova, former Slovak top 5 player, said on Amazon Prime.
Djokovic, who is Serbian, was the overwhelming favorite to win his 18th Grand Slam title in a US Open that failed to introduce rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. With him out of the tournament, a man will win his first Grand Slam on Sunday night. Either Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Sascha Zverev or Pablo Carreno Busta will hoist the trophy. The men’s semi-finals will take place on Friday.
Djokovic, meanwhile, rushed out of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sunday without speaking to the media and was penalized $ 267,500 – $ 250,000 in prizes and $ 17,500 in fines.
“I care so much about [Djokovic] and respect everything he does for our game, but I just hope there is a lesson to be learned, even if this one came at the worst possible time, where pretty much the only thing standing in between him and an 18th Grand Slam title was himself, with all my respect for the other players, ”Hantuchova said.
Notorious tennis bad boy John McEnroe said Djokovic, 33 “gonna be the bad guy for the rest of his career.”
Despite going 26-0 on the pitch in 2020, it’s been a particularly bad year off the pitch for Djokovic.
Earlier this summer, Djokovic and his wife both contracted COVID-19, along with several other top players, during his ill-fated Adria Tour in Serbia and Croatia. Djokovic has since recovered from the virus.
“So many times he has the right intentions, it’s just with the timing that he doesn’t make the right choices, like the Adria Tour,” said Hantuchova.
“It’s okay to organize an exhibition tour like this, but not when the whole world is stopping.”
Djokovic is also trying to create a players’ union to compete with ATP, and has been publicly rejected by several big players, notably Nadal and Federer.
Clark, meanwhile, was back on the pitch on Wednesday, a source confirmed, after taking two days off to recover physically and mentally.
She has been the victim of death threats and online trolling from some of Djokovic’s most fanatic supporters.
“Dear #NoleFam thank you for your positive messages “, he wrote on Twitter. “Please also remember that the linesman who was hit by the ball last night also needs the support of our community. She didn’t do anything wrong at all. I ask you to remain particularly supportive and considerate towards her during this period.
“From these moments we get stronger and we rise above. Share the love with everyone. Europe here I am.