Australian doubles legend Todd Woddbridge and Sam Groth have criticised World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for not speaking to the press and choosing to release a statement on social media after his sensational disqualification from the US Open on Sunday.
Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open for accidentally hitting a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball late in the first set of in his fourth-round match on Sunday. It brought an end to his unbeaten streak this season - and also ended his campaign for an 18th Grand Slam title at a tournament in which he was the overwhelming favourite.
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic was defaulted from his fourth-round match at the #USOpen after he accidentally hit a line judge with a tennis ball Sunday. pic.twitter.com/TTstxZB2Jw — ESPN (@espn) September 6, 2020
Todd Woodbridge and Sam Groth criticise Novak Djokovic for not speaking to the press
Speaking to World Wide of Sports, Woodbridge says, "It would have been better to have stayed there.
Perhaps if he had locked himself away for an hour or so, then come and dealt with the issue with the world's media, then it would be put to bed. I think everyone would rather hear it from him, rather than via a statement.
It's a well written statement, it's not as heartfelt as if it was delivered in person."
Woodbridge says the issue is likely to linger on and will be brought up when Djokovic meets the press in upcoming clay court tournaments in Europe.
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 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. Cela ova situacija me čini zaista tužnim i praznim. Proverio sam kako se oseća linijski sudija, i prema informacijama koje sam dobio, oseća se dobro, hvala Bogu.
Njeno ime ne mogu da otkrijem zbog očuvanja njene privatnosti. Jako mi je žao što sam joj naneo takav stres. Nije bilo namerno. Bilo je pogrešno. Želim da ovo neprijatno iskustvo, diskvalifikaciju sa turnira, pretvorim u važnu životnu lekciju, kako bih nastavio da rastem i razvijam se kao čovek, ali i teniser.
Izvinjavam se organizatorima US Opena. Veoma sam zahvalan svom timu i porodici što mi pružaju snažnu podršku, kao i mojim navijačima jer su uvek uz mene. Hvala vam i žao mi je. Bio je ovo težak dan za sve.
"I think there's some questions about his leadership. From not accepting responsibility for what happened at the Adria Tour, to causing a division within the playing group, and then walking away here, at some point he has to answer questions.
He could have put that aside today and given himself a chance for clear air at the French, but now this is going to play out for a while, no matter what the statement says." Another former Australian player Sam Groth was also of the view that Novak Djokovic should have made the statement in person.
"The biggest disappointment is that within 30 minutes of being defaulted he just got in a car and left the site, he didn't front up to the press conference. I think we can all agree (hitting the lineswoman) wasn't on purpose, it wasn't done with malice.
But I think for a guy who's now the co-president of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), the number one seed, the favourite, he's messed up and he should have fronted the press. He should have made that statement in person, whether it was 30 minutes after the match or three hours after the match."