The US Open final was nearly a lot worse for Novak Djokovic.
In the second set of his defeat to Daniil Medvedev, Djokovic’s temper flared after hitting the ball into the net. Djokovic, who previously smashed his racket during the 6-4. 6-4. 6-4 loss, reared back to slam the ball in frustration as a terrified ball kid was running to retrieve it. He calmed himself before following through in what could have been a potential disaster.
“Djokovic rears back in anger to crush a ball as hard as he can. A ball kid is right in the line of fire and he pulls back at the last second. That was a split second away from a total catastrophe. Novak rattled. Furious. Unfocused. A nightmare scenario for him,” tweeted ATP strategy coach Craig O’Shannessy, along with screen grabs of the scene.
Had Djokovic followed through, it could have been a stunning repeat of his 2020 disqualification from the event. A year ago, Djokovic whacked a ball in anger, and it hit a lineswoman in the throat during his fourth-round match. The No. 1 player was defaulted from the match and tournament.
The line judges were eliminated from the US Open this year, as Flushing Meadows switched to automated rulings.
Djokovic’s loss kept him from winning the Golden Slam, and keeps him tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer with 20 career Grand Slam wins.