Novak Djokovic learned “a big lesson” from the US Open after inadvertently disqualifying him to hit a line judge in the throat with a ball.
The event eight days earlier marked Djokovic’s 29-match winning streak and a surprise end to his bid for the 18th Grand Slam title.
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“I am working as hard mentally and emotionally as I am physically,” Djokovic said Monday at the Italian Open. I am trying to be the best version of myself on the court and off the court and I understand that I have an outburst and that is the kind of personality and player that I have always been.
“I am going to take this as a lesson as deep as possible. I am thinking about it. I’m understand I am talking to my team. This is one of these things that is just unfortunate and happens. You have to move forward. ”
The disqualification was revealed during Djokovic’s fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.
As he walked to the edge of Arthur Ash Stadium for a change, trailing Carreno Busta 6-5 in the first set, Djokovic – who was seeded and ranked No. 1 and a firm favorite for the championship – An angry ball hit him. The ball flew just in front of the line judge, who fell to his knees behind the court and reached his neck.
“It was completely unexpected and very unexpected,” Djokovic said. “When you hit the ball in such a way that you have a chance to hit someone on the court. The rules are clear. So I accepted it. I had to move forward and that’s what I did.
“Of course, I haven’t forgotten about it,” Djokovic said. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget about it, because it’s one of those things that stays in your memory for the rest of your life. But I don’t think I have any time to come back on tour and do well and There will be a big issue in getting hit on a tennis ball. ”
Djokovic said that he checked in with Lineswoman after the incident and was told that she was not seriously injured.
“I was really sad to shock and pretend for her, because she didn’t deserve this in any way,” Djokovic said. “She is clearly volunteering and doing her job. She loves tennis, and she has been there, as I understand, for many years. ”
Djokovic won five of the last seven Grand Slam tournaments to win a total of 17, closing in on rivals Roger Federer, who has a men’s record of 20, and Rafael Nadal, who is 19.
Both Federer (injury) and Nadal (worrying about travel between coronovirus epidemics) did not play at the US Open.
“I apologize on his behalf. He had an opportunity there,” Nadal said. “But by no means should you do it. … It is important to have proper self-control over the court.
Djokovic has an early bye in Rome. Their first match this week will come against either the Italian wild-card entry Salvatore Caruso or the qualifier.
The tournament at Fado Italico was rescheduled from May due to an epidemic and will be played without fans in attendance.
Nadal, who won a record nine titles in Rome, stands in contrast to a draw from Djokovic. The Spaniard is making his return to tennis for the first time since February.
Nadal said, “I’ve always been like this – maybe a little bad because I haven’t been competing for the last six months.” “To feel that you need 100% match.”
Nadal opened against Carreno Busta.
“He is playing brilliantly,” Nadal said. “There is going to be a good exam.”
Like the US Open, players are being placed in a protective “bubble” and frequently tested for coronaviruses. But unlike the situation in New York, players are not required to wear masks upon entering and leaving the court.
“All the players have been tested, so it makes total sense,” said sixth-placed Stephanos Tsitsipas. “And they don’t have people to tell you what to do after every minute and what protocol to follow.
“Plus,” Tatsipas said, “housing is another level.”
The male players are staying at the five-star Rome Cavalry, which can see the center of the city from a hill.