NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pablo Carreno Busta said he was in shock when he saw that opponent Novak Djokovic had hit a line judge with a ball, which led to the Serb’s disqualification from the U.S. Open on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Spaniard was locked in a tight battle with Djokovic in the fourth round of the tournament when the world number one was sensationally defaulted after swatting a ball to the back of the court, inadvertently striking a line judge following a point.
Carreno Busta turned to look at his coach and celebrate breaking the top seed’s serve for a 6-5 lead in the first set when his opponent whacked a ball in frustration, hitting the line judge above the shoulders.
“When I turn back again, the line umpire was on the floor,” Carreno Busta told a news conference at Flushing Meadows.
“I’m very apprehensive with these kind of things, so I was a little bit in shock.”
Spain’s Carreno Busta spent several minutes after the incident waiting to discover whether play would continue, as Djokovic stood at the net speaking to tournament officials.
“I just try to be focused if the case (is) that we have to continue playing,” he explained. “And then finally Novak (gives) me the hand. That’s it.”
The 20th seed, who reached the U.S. Open semi-finals in 2017, said it was clear the 17-times Grand Slam winner did not intend to hit the line judge but agreed that the “rules are the rules”.
“I think that it was bad luck,” he said. “You cannot do this, but of course I think that Novak never, never wants to hit the line umpire.”
Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Toby Davis
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