Novak Djokovic accidentally hit a French Open line judge in the face and called it ‘very awkward déjà-vu’ after US Open controversy

  • Novak Djokovic accidentally sent a tennis ball flying into a line judge's face at the French Open on Monday.
  • Last month, the world's top-ranked men's tennis star was disqualified from the US Open after hitting a ball in anger and unintentionally striking a linesperson hard enough that it knocked her to the ground.
  • After his victory at Roland-Garros on Monday, Djokovic referred to the day's incident as "very awkward déjà-vu" before commending the judge for handling the situation in "a very strong and brave way."
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Less than a month removed from his default-worthy incident at the US Open, Novak Djokovic once again hit a ball into a line judge.

This time, the completely unintentional error came at Roland-Garros, where the world's top-ranked men's tennis player was facing off against 24-year-old Karen Khachanov in the fourth round of the French Open. During the opening set, Djokovic lunged for a forehand and accidentally sent the tennis ball sailing into the side of an unsuspecting linesperson's face.

Djokovic immediately ran over to the man to ensure that he wasn't considerably hurt, especially in light of the damage he caused in Queens last month. Midway through his Round-of-16 match against Pablo Carreño Busta, the Serbian star was disqualified from the Grand Slam tournament after hitting a ball in anger and unintentionally striking a linesperson hard enough that she fell to the ground.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia tends to a lineswoman Laura Clark after inadvertently striking her with a ball hit in frustration during his Men's Singles fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta at the 2020 US Open.
Al Bello/Getty Images

Monday's episode was not fueled by anger and did not result in any repercussions for Djokovic. Still, the 33-year-old said he felt "very awkward déjà-vu" after hitting the judge, given its similarity with the unfortunate moment from the US Open and the uproar that ensued.

"I'm actually trying to find the linesperson 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," Djokovic told the press after his match, per Max Gao. "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 it was very close."

Novak Djokovic checks on the line judge he accidentally hit at the French Open.
AP Photo/Christophe Ena

Djokovic finished Monday's match with a comfortable 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory and will move on to face none other than Carreño Busta — whom he was playing when he defaulted at the US Open — in the French Open quarterfinals.

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