'Different rules': Roger Federer dragged into Novak Djokovic saga

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
Roger Federer accidentally hitting a ball kid (pictured right) with a tennis ball at the Australian Open and Novak Djokovic checking on a line judge (pictured left) at the US Open.
Fans and media have raised an incident with Roger Federer accidentally hitting a ball kid (pictured right) with a ball years ago in the Australian Open and have compared it to Novak Djokovic's incident (pictured left) at the US Open. (Getty Images/YouTube)

Novak Djokovic has come under an insane amount of scrutiny for his unexpected disqualification from the US Open, but fans claim Roger Federer would have received preferential treatment and have compared examples from the Swiss maestro’s past.

The World No.1 was defaulted during the first set of his fourth-round match with Pablo Carreno Busta on Sunday after unintentionally hitting the line judge with a ball in a moment of frustration.

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After losing a game to go down 6-5 in the set, Djokovic turned and hit the ball in anger, inadvertently hitting the official in the throat.

Djokovic pleaded his case and was overheard claiming: “She doesn’t have to go to the hospital for this.”

Despite the line judge escaping serious injury, Djokovic was defaulted for what appeared to be an inadvertent miss hit following the game.

The backlash has been fierce with former champions slamming Djokovic for not facing the press following the moment of madness.

Djokovic even pleaded with fans to leave the line judge alone after her social media was flooded with abusive messages.

But despite the fallout and many believing the US Open delivered the right call, some fans were quick to allege Federer would have received preferential treatment in the same circumstances.

One such incident has resurfaced of Federer accidentally hitting a young ball kid during a match at the Australian Open several years ago.

Federer didn’t hit the ball in frustration, but swung his racquet behind his back and accidentally clobbered the ball kid.

Surprisingly, despite the freak accident, Federer didn’t receive a code violation.

While the situation was laughed off, fans swarmed the YouTube video with comments comparing it to the Djokovic incident.

While Djokovic hit the ball in anger and the line judge fell to the floor, fans still compared the incident.

Fans also jumped on social media to draw comparisons with previous Federer incidents to the recent Djokovic default.

Only two weeks ago at the Southern & Western Open, which Djokovic won, Aljaz Bedene accidentally hit a cameraman after slapping a ball away when losing the point.

Bedene immediately apologised, but the tournament offical was called out to determine whether a default would be enforced.

But after the officials discussed the decision, it was deemed no harm was done and Bedene received a code violation.

But many agreed with the officials’ decision.

Tennis legend Billie Jean King said the decision to disqualify Djokovic from the US Open was the correct one and British great Tim Henman said the World No.1 shouldn’t have dodged the press conference after his ‘mistake’.

“Unfortunately he’s compounding the error. He needs to face up to it, apologise and accept he made a mistake," former British star Tim Henman said on Prime Video’s coverage.

“By, in essence, running away, it’s going to go on longer.”

Djokovic’s former coach slams decision

Following the events, Djokovic’s former coach Nikola Pilic added to the furore and said the default was too harsh of a call.

“In my opinion, Djokovic accidentally hit the referee ball," Pilic said.

"I think he should have been punished with a confiscated game.”

He also claimed Federer would have received special treatment in such circumstances.

"I believe that the judge also acted a little, I don't think she was so hurt," Pilic added.

"Do you think Federer would be kicked out for something like this? No chance. This decision is tendentious."