Novak Djokovic admitted there was a sense of ‘awkward déjà vu’ after he accidentally hit a line judge in the face at the French Open.
Djokovic, the world No. 1 from Serbia, was disqualified from the US Open last month after hitting a ball into a line judge’s throat and remarkably there was another incident of a similar nature on Monday in Paris.
In New York, Djokovic had struck the ball in frustration after a game had finished whereas on this occasion he was at full stretch when trying to return a serve from Karen Khachanov.
He got the tip of his racquet to the ball and it careered straight into the cheek of a line judge.
‘My gosh, it was very awkward déjà vu,’ said Djokovic, who thumped 15th seed Khachanov 6-4 6-3 6-3 to set up a quarter-final tie with Pablo Carreno Busta.
‘I’m actually trying to find the lines person and see if he’s okay because I saw he had a little bit of a bruise, like redness, in that place in the head where the ball hit him. I hope he’s fine.
‘I mean, he definitely dealt with it in a very strong and brave way. But it was a hit because I was very close.
‘Oobviously because of what happened in New York, people I guess are going to make the story out of this.
‘It has happened to me and to many other players in the last 15 years that I’ve been on the tour.
‘I’ve seen it a lot when the ball ricochets from the racquet and the frame, hits someone in the stands, or someone that is close to you or line umpire.
‘Yeah, it was a very awkward situation obviously.’
Earlier in the tournament Djokovic, 33, had called for line judges to scrapped and replaced by electronic line calling.
‘The technology is so advanced right now, there is absolutely no reason why you should keep line umpires on the court. That’s my opinion,’ Djokovic added.
‘Of course, I understand technology is expensive, so it’s an economic issue and a question mark.
‘But I feel like we are all moving towards that, and sooner or later there is no reason to keep line umpires.’
He added with a smile: ‘Yes, ball kids, of course, ball person, yes, but line umpires, I don’t see why anymore, to be honest. I would also probably then have less chances to do what I did in New York.’
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