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By Erik Gudris | Monday, September 14, 2020

Novak Djokovic

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic hopes to be a better player and person as he prepares for his Rome return following his US Open default.

Photo credit: Rolex Shanghai Masters Facebook

World No.1 Novak Djokovic says he learned his lesson after being defaulted from the US Open for unintentionally striking a linesperson in the throat with a ball.

During a press event for the Italian Open in Rome, Djokovic spoke publicly for the first time about his default from the US Open.

Novak: This is What Sport Is All About

“I’m working mentally and emotionally as hard as I am working physically,” Djokovic said. “I’m trying to be the best version of myself on the court and off the court and I understand that I have outbursts and this is kind of the personality and the player that I have always been.

“I’m going to take this in as profound a way as possible, as a big lesson. I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been comprehending. I’ve been talking to my team. It’s just one of these things that is just unfortunate and happens. You have to move on.”

Still, a very candid Djokovic conceded this outburst could happen again given his emotional intensity on court, which former coach Boris Becker has called both his greatest strength and biggest weakness.

“I can’t promise or guarantee that I won’t do anything like that again,” Djokovic said. “I do not know. Obviously, I will do my best to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. But anything is possible.”

The default, that occurred with the Serbian down 5-6 in a fourth-round match with Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, ended Djokovic’s quest for an 18th career major title and also his recent 29-match winning streak.

“Of course I did not forget about it,” Djokovic continued. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget about it, because it’s one of those things that stays in your memory for the rest of your life. But I don’t think I’ll have any major issues coming back to the tour and being able to perform well and hit the tennis ball.”

Djokovic added that he did check on the lineswoman and also spoke out against the social media abuse she received after the match.

“I felt really sorry to cause the shock and drama to her, because she didn’t deserve that in any way,” Djokovic said. “She obviously is volunteering and doing her work. She loves tennis, and she’s been there, as I understood, for quite a few years.”

Tennis Express

Rafael Nadal, competing in his first event since winning Acapulco in February, commented as well on Djokovic’s default.

“Sorry for him. He had an opportunity there,” Nadal said. “But in some way you should not be doing this. “It is important to have the right self-control on the court,” Nadal added.

Nadal defeated Djokovic in last year’s Rome final before winning his 12th career Roland Garros title. Both Djokovic and Nadal received opening round byes.


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