Novak Djokovic said on Saturday that he has “moved on” from the sensational incident that led to his default at the recent US Open. Djokovic was removed from the tournament for striking a line judge with a ball fired in frustration after he lost a point during his fourth-round match with Pablo Carreno Busta.
“Obviously I’m going to be extra careful of hitting a tennis ball around the court,” Djokovic said during his pre-French Open meeting with reporters. “It’s something that stayed in my mind and will stay there a long time, of course. I will make sure not to make the same mistake twice. Whatever happened happened, I had to accept it and move on.”
In addition to being ejected, Djokovic was forced to forfeit his $250,000 guaranteed share of prize money. He also was fined an additional total of $17,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct and skipping his obligatory postmatch news conference.
The judge who Djokovic hit in the throat with his errant shot suffered no serious injury. The Serbian star, the top seed at that US Open as well as in Paris, expressed his remorse on social media shortly after the incident.
“This whole situation has left me really sad and empty,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “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.”
Last week, in his first tournament after the debacle in New York, Djokovic received a code-of-conduct warning for smashing a racket during his quarterfinal match at the Italian Open. The following day, during a semifinal win, he was officially warned for “audible obscenity.”
Djokovic, who won in Rome, said on Saturday that the incident in New York had no “significant impact” on how he feels on a tennis court. “[In Rome] I didn’t feel any kind of emotional disturbance or find it difficult to play and still express my emotions in whatever way.”
He added, “Of course, I try to keep negative emotions on the court as less as possible. But I am not going to be down on myself because of that. I try to accept it and forgive myself and move on.”