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Djokovic calls for calm after line judge cops online abuse from fans

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Novak Djokovic has urged his fans to leave a US Open line judge alone after she received online abuse over the incident that led to his disqualification.

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The fallout continued from the world number one’s shock exit from the tournament after he swatted away a ball which then hit the line judge in the throat.

“Dear #NoleFam thank you for your positive messages. Please also remember the linesperson who was hit by the ball last night needs our community’s support too,” he tweeted.

“She has done nothing wrong at all. I ask you to stay especially supportive and caring to her during this time.”

Djokovic ended his message, saying: “Europe here I come.”

The Serbian superstar had just had his serve broken in the first set against Spain’s Pablo Carreno-Busta when he blindly hit the ball away behind him in frustration. It hit the female line judge, and she fell to her knees gasping.

A concerned Djokovic ran over to check on her, but minutes later he was out of the US Open, under the “abuse of balls” rule.

The incident has stunned the tennis world, blown the men’s singles draw wide open and ruined Djokovic’s campaign for an 18th career major tournament title.

Djokovic — who left the tournament hub at Flushing Meadows without talking to the media — later released a statement on Instagram to apologise for the incident, his behaviour and for the stress caused to the line judge.

“I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok,” he posted.

“I’m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong.

-AAP

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