Pablo Carreno Busta addresses criticism he faced after Novak Djokovic US Open default

After Djokovic was disqualified, some claimed that Carreno Busta wanted that to happen.

by Dzevad Mesic
Pablo Carreno Busta addresses criticism he faced after Novak Djokovic US Open default
© Getty Images Sport - Al Bello

Pablo Carreno Busta reveals he has heard what some critics had to say about him regarding the infamous 2020 US Open Novak Djokovic incident but insists that there was nothing he could have done because if the official wanted to throw the Serb out of the match, that would have happened anyway. 

In 2020, Djokovic routinely made the US Open round-of-16, where he faced Carreno Busta. Even though Djokovic entered the match as the big favorite, there wasn't much separating him and former world No. 10 Carreno Busta early in the match. 

And after getting broken in the 11th game of the first set and Carreno Busta getting to 6-5 and having a chance to serve out for the opener, Djokovic got frustrated and he hit the ball toward the stands - which hit a lineswoman directly in the throat. The Serb instantly rushed to check on the line umpire, who instantly grabbed her throat and fell on the court. 

Then a lengthy discussion between Djokovic, the chair umpire, and the supervisor ensued - and although the Serb did everything he could to apologize - he was disqualified. 

Novak Djokovic and lineswoman
Novak Djokovic and lineswoman © Getty Images Sport - Al Bello

Carreno Busta on Djokovic getting defaulted from their 2020 US Open match 

Reflecting on that now, Carreno Busta described it as "a thoughtless action" on Djokovic's part but also noted that the Serb's intention was definitely not to hit anyone. Also, the Spaniard says he believes the record 24-time Grand Slam would not have been defaulted had he hit the lineswoman in the leg or arm.

"It was a complicated situation. Much harder for Novak, of course, but it wasn't easy for me either... Pandemic year, we all made a huge effort just to be there at all, to fulfill all the COVID rules... The match was nice, I enjoyed it, I fought, we were still in the first set... It is clear that this is not the best way to end the match, nor is it the best way to beat Novak Djokovic, it was better in Tokyo, a real fight," Carreno Busta told Serbian publication Sport Klub

"It was a completely unintentional action on his part, he wouldn't do it again... He was so unlucky that he hit the linesman right in the throat, an uncomfortable spot... If he had hit her in the leg or arm, probably nothing would have happened. Everything came together like that - bad luck, his thoughtless action... Strange situation, a strange match, but after that I reached the semi-finals of the US Open for the second time - then I beat Shapovalov in five sets, lost to Zverev in five sets in the semi-finals, and after I was leading 2-0 (in sets)."

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport - Al Bello

Carreno Busta on people criticizing him after the Djokovic withdrawal

Although Carreno Busta basically played no part in Djokovic's disqualification, some came after him after the infamous incident. At the time, some were even claiming that the Spanish former world No. 10 didn't even make an effort to help the Serb remain in the match and that he was actually rooting for a default to happen. 

Asked about it, the 32-year-old Spaniard confirms that some of the stuff that was said or written about him got to him. But he never thought that he should feel guilty or anything like that simply because he believes the officials would have still made the same decision even if he pleaded for them to let Djokovic continue the match.

"They have, not only in Serbia, but also in many other places. After all, there was nothing I could do. If I said that we should continue playing, the official is the one who makes the final decision. If the decision was not to disqualify him, and if I had asked to disqualify him, it would have come down to the same thing again - they wouldn't have listened to me, the official makes the decision. Rublev was recently disqualified in Dubai, Bublik protested, said 'No, no, let's play,' and the official replied that he was the one making that decision," Carreno Busta explained.

Pablo Carreno Busta
Pablo Carreno Busta © Getty Images Sport - Juan Manuel Serrano

10 months after the US Open incident, Carreno Busta and Djokovic also met in the Tokyo Olympics bronze medal match. Again, it was Carreno Busta who ended on the winning side but this time their match was completed and the Spaniard claimed a 6-4 6-7 (6) 6-3 win to collect his first Olympic medal.

And since the summer of 2021, the 32-year-old Spaniard and the 37-year-old Serb haven't met on the court.

Despite losing two of their last three matches, Djokovic still owns a 4-2 head-to-head against Carreno Busta.

Carreno Busta Novak Djokovic Us Open