This year's major tennis scandal erupted at the US Open.
The first racket of the world, Novak Djokovic, was disqualified in the fourth round for hitting the line referee with the ball.
Now, for the first time since 2014, the men's tournament will be won by a tennis player who has not previously won a Grand Slam tournament.
The incident occurred in the match of Djokovic with the 20th seeded Pablo Carreño Busta.
The first set was initially dictated by the Serb, who gave only three points in his serve in the first nine games.
With the score 5: 4, he earned three set points, but none realized and lost the game.
In the next draw, Djokovic fell and was forced to take a medical time-out, after which Busta managed to make a break.
Having lost the last point, the Serbian tennis player, without looking, hit the ball towards the stands behind him during the rally, and hit the line judge in the throat.
From the blow, the woman screamed and fell to the court.
Djokovic noticed this and immediately ran up to apologize.
It took the referee a while to recover and leave the court with help.
The tennis player was left to wait for the verdict, which was to be rendered by the umpire and the tournament supervisor.
According to media reports, in a conversation with reporters, Djokovic noted that the woman did not have to be taken to the hospital.
But the judges were adamant, immediately disqualifying the tennis player and depriving him of earned rating points and prize money.
The US Tennis Association indicated that Djokovic was punished for actions that could be described as deliberately hitting the ball in a dangerous and reckless manner within the court, or as hitting the ball with negligent disregard for the consequences.
It is worth noting that earlier, after one of the lost set points, Djokovic had already sent the ball to the side under the influence of emotions and hit the wall.
The tennis player did not communicate with journalists after the match and published a statement on his social networks, in which he apologized for his actions and promised to learn a lesson from what had happened.
“This whole situation saddened and devastated me.
I spoke to the line judge and the organizers assured me that, thank God, she was fine.
I am very sorry that because of me she had to go through such stress.
This was an unintentional oversight.
I don't want to mention her name out of respect for her privacy.
As for disqualification, I need to come to my senses, overcome my upset feelings and learn from this a lesson for my growth and development as a player and as a person.
I apologize for my behavior to the organizers and everyone involved in the tournament.
I am grateful to my team and family for their strong support, as well as to the fans for being with me always.
Thank you and I apologize, ”Djokovic wrote.
Thus, the Serb interrupted his 26-match winning streak.
With his disqualification, for the first time in six years, the Grand Slam tournament will have a new champion, as all previous winners have already finished the fight, and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal refused to come to New York.
The current situation can be called a real sunset of the era of the Big Three, since for the first time since Roland Garros in 2004 none of them will play in the Major's quarterfinals.
Among those whose chances for the title have now increased dramatically will be the Russians Andrei Rublev and Daniil Medvedev.
Djokovic, like many other tennis players, is very emotional, and this has already led him to a similar situation.
At the 2016 French Open, he threw a racket towards the linesman but missed him.
Then the athlete admitted that he was lucky to avoid punishment, but refused to comment on the incident in more detail.
This is only the third time in the history of Grand Slam tournaments that an athlete has been disqualified for being an object in a match.
At Wimbledon in 1995, Tim Henman was removed from the doubles tournament, hitting the ball in a ball girl.
Five years later, at the Roland Garros tournament, Stefan Kubek was suspended, who angrily threw a racket at the boy serving the balls.
However, none of them were such an outstanding player as Djokovic.
The removal of the first racket of the world has become the most talked about event in the world of tennis.
One of the first to react to it was the Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
He himself three years ago found himself in a similar situation, after in a Davis Cup match he loaded the ball into the referee's eye and was disqualified.
“First of all, this is an extremely unfortunate situation for anyone.
I've been through this and know how Novak feels.
Of course, he was not going to hit the judge with a blow.
Luckily she's fine.
It could have ended very badly.
Hopefully Novak can survive this and move on.
He needs to develop and learn a lesson from this.
But still, he was extremely unlucky, the ball could have hit anywhere, ”said Shapovalov, who himself reached the quarterfinals of the Major for the first time in his career on the same day and will play against Busta.
Australian tennis player Nick Kiryos reacted to the incident in his playful style.
He invited fans to respond on Twitter to the question for how long he would be disqualified for such an incident - for five, ten or 20 years.
But according to the former Russian player Andrei Chesnokov, Djokovic was punished too harshly.
The tennis player also noted that the female referee may have overreacted to the kick to benefit from it.
“The meaning of Djokovic's disqualification? Let him pay her (compensation. -
) for moral damage, pay a fine. Everyone watched the tournament because at least Djokovic is there. It's horrible. Of course, it's unpleasant when the ball hits you, but this is not a puck. Well, he threw the ball with a racket, well, he hit the judge. I think the rules need to be changed. This judge can be invited to the Moscow Art Theater to play some role there. I got very upset. Well this is America. At the exit from the center court, I suppose, already lawyers are standing to help her file a lawsuit against Djokovic. Maybe there was a desire to punish Novak, "Chesnokov said in an interview with Championship.