The tennis legend Novak Djokovic finds his way out of the US Open after unintentionally hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball.
The incident took place during the world number one's fourth-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta in New York.
The frustrated Djokovic, 33, injured a line judge after smacking the ball with his racquet by mistake after losing the first set at the grand tournament.
The Serbian was horrified at the outcome of his frustration and immediately apologized. He even argued his case with the match officials and pleaded not to be disqualified from the tournament.
According to The Sun, Djokovic, who was after his 18th Grand Slam title, said: "She doesn't have to go to the hospital for this. You're going to choose a default in this situation? My career, grand slam, centre stage."
The Serbian, who was the favorite to take home the tile this year, later took to Instagram to issue an apology: "This whole situation has left me really sad and empty.
"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. I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy.
"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 apologise to the US Open 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."
According to the rulebook, “players shall not at any times physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site”.
The rulebook adds that “physical abuse is the unauthorised touching of an official, opponent, spectator or other person”.
Fans of the tennis star took to Twitter to respond to the incident.
One wrote on Twitter: "Djokovic felled a defenseless linesman. Intentional or not he deserved the DQ.
"Enough with it being a fluke. Enough with the excuses. Enough that it’s 2020’s fault (yes, one announcer implied that).
"What he did was reckless. His Covid exhibition was reckless, too. Good riddance."
Another commented: "Everyone thinking Djokovic should be exempted from a default because of who he is: maybe that’s a problem!"
A third fan wrote: "Don't think there is any debating Novak Djokovic's DQ. It's a simple red.
"Can't imagine why it took so long to make the decision, other that officials wanting to make sure they got it right given that it's the US Open and it's Novak."