Former world top 10 Nikola Pilic believes that Roger Federer would not have been disqualified from the US Open had he committed a similar offence to the one that saw Novak Djokovic removed from the tournament.
World number one Djokovic, who had been unbeaten in ATP competitions this year, was defaulted from the second major of the season after accidentally hitting a line judge with the ball.
The Serb, who was playing his fourth-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta at the time of the incident, immediately apologised but was disqualified from the competition by the tournament organisers.
In addition to being stripped of £190,000 in prize money, he was also fined a further £7,600 for what was deemed as ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’.
The decision received mixed views from those in the tennis community, but Pilic, who formerly acted as Djokovic’s manager, was unequivocal in his views.
He said, as per Tennis World: “In my opinion, Novak Djokovic accidentally hit the referee ball.
“I think he should have been punished with a confiscated game. It is not right to disqualify the first in the world because of this.
“I believe that the judge also acted a little, I don’t think she was so hurt.
Do you think Roger Federer would be kicked out for something like this? No chance. This decision is tendentious.
Officials announced that the line judge was under the observation of the tournament doctor and will “return to work when she and the doctor feel it is appropriate."
Besides the Djokovic incident, this week’s US Open has been notable for the absence of both Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Nadal announced that he would not play in the tournament due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, while Federer is recovering from injury.
Andy Murray won his first match since undergoing hip surgery last year, but was defeated in round two in straight sets by 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
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