Novak Djokovic's US Open meltdown costs millions in prize money, with more potential fines ahead

World's No. 1 tennis player is now ineligible for US Open's top prize of $3M after being stripped of $250K prize

Novak Djokovic, the world's No. 1 tennis player, could potentially face additional fines from the United States Tennis Association following his dramatic disqualification from the U.S. Open on Sunday night.

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In addition to missing out on the $3 million in prize money up for grabs in the U.S. Open, Djokovic has been stripped of his $250,000 (£190,000) in prize money from reaching the Round of 16 of the tournament after swiping a ball away that struck a female line judge in the throat.

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The move was done in frustration after being broken 5-6 in the opening set against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.

Despite his pleas for leniency from tournament officials, Djokovic was defaulted by the umpire and Carreno Busta was declared the winner of the match.

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Djokovic then refused to take part in his press commitments, abruptly leaving the Flushing Meadows facility.

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, leaves the court after defaulting the match to Pablo Carreno Busta, of Spain, during the fourth round of the US Open tennis championships, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in New York. Djokovic inadvertently hit a line judge with a b

The USTA issued a statement on the default Sunday, arguing that Djokovic's move against the line judge was intentional.

"In accordance with the Grand Slam rulebook, following his actions of intentionally hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences, the US Open tournament referee defaulted Novak Djokovic from the 2020 US Open," the USTA said. "Because he was defaulted, Djokovic will lose all ranking points earned at the US Open and will be fined the prize money won at the tournament in addition to any or all fines levied with respect to the offending incident."

According to a USTA spokesperson, the stunt led to an additional fine of $10,000 (£7,600) for "unsportsmanlike behaviour." Meanwhile, the decision to skip out on press commitments is expected to land Djokovic in even more hot water with fines of up to $20,000 per the Grand Slam rulebook.

The spokesperson noted that updates will be posted on the USTA website and that additional announcements could be made as early as Tuesday morning.

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In an Instagram post on Sunday, Djokovic issued an apology, saying the whole situation has left him "really sad and empty."

"I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok," Djokovic said. "I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong. I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy."

As for the disqualification, Djokovic said he needs to "go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being."

"I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behavior," Djokovic added. "I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry."

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