Novak Djokovic ‘extremely sorry’ after US Open disqualification

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(FILES) In this file photo Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his win over Milos Raonic of Canada in the men's singles final of the Western & Southern Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. - Overwhelming favorite Novak Djokovic begins his quest for an 18th Grand Slam title on August 31, 2020 as a unique, spectator-free 2020 US Open gets underway in a COVID-19 quarantine bubble at Flushing Meadows. The world number one headlines the opening day of a tennis major that promises to be unlike any other and which is missing several top players due to coronavirus fears. (Photo by MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

NEW YORK (United States) _ Novak Djokovic apologised for his US Open disqualification on Sunday, declaring himself “extremely sorry” for the moment of madness which saw him defaulted from the tournament.

In a statement on Instagram just hours after his sensational exit in New York, the Serbian world number one said he had been left “really sad and empty” by the controversy.

The 33-year-old was tossed from the tournament after accidentally hitting a tennis ball into the throat of a line official during his fourth round match with Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.

“This whole situation has left me really sad and empty,” Djokovic said in a statement on Instagram. “I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok.

“I’m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong.”

Djokovic, who left Flushing Meadows without speaking to reporters following his exit, said he would try to learn from the incident.

“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,” he said.

“I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behavior. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me.

“Thank you and I’m so sorry.”

Djokovic is one of only a handful of players to be defaulted from a Grand Slam tournament ever since John McEnroe was infamously booted out of the 1990 Australian Open. _ AFP

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