Former World No. 2 Alex Corretja says he was stunned like everybody else at the disqualification of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic from the US Open Grand Slam tournament on Sunday. The Serbian 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 against Pablo Carreno Busta, of Spain, on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Alex Corretja says US Open officials had no choice but to disqualify Novak Djokovic
Speaking to Eurosport, Corretja says the incident may change the future of the sport - referring to Djokovic's quest for the record of most number of Grand Slam singles titles.
"I am absolutely frozen like everyone else, absolutely unexpected. It’s amazing how one centimetre can change not only the match, but the future of our sport, the history of our sport. With the rule as it is, you need to disqualify him.
It’s obvious they had no other choice, it’s a pity. It’s a big lesson for kids growing up and for everyone on the tour. You need to be very careful what you do on court because you can hurt someone badly."
Corretja, a two-time Grand Slam finalist, also said that Carreno Busta will now need to focus on his own game as he has a chance to reach the semi-finals of the US Open for a second time in his career. Carreno Busta will take on 12th seeded Denis Shapovalov in the quarter-finals.
"For Pablo, this is life, this is sport. You need to focus on yourself and this is what he was doing. He was doing great. He is now in the quarters. Of course, we will talk about this incident with Djokovic for ages, but now he needs to focus on his next opponent.
He will have an unbelievable chance to get into the semi-finals, but he will have a difficult opponent so it won’t be easy. But he had a very difficult match against Djokovic and got through in a way that nobody wanted."
Another former Grand Slam finalist, Greg Rusedski, also said he backed the US Open decision to default the Serbian champion in a message on Twitter. “Unbelievable that @DjokerNole has been defaulted. This was the correct decision under the rules regardless of intent or not.
Novak should have stayed for the press conference & apologize. We must take responsibility for our actions no matter how difficult the situation is." Novak Djokovic was aiming to win his 18th Grand Slam singles title at this tournament.
He had won the Australian Open in January and was unbeaten on the tour this year. The Serbian has posted a message on his social media aplogising for his actions since the incident.