Novak Djokovic's US Open disqualification rocked the tennis world but an old clip of the World No.1 that has resurfaced online, suggests it was not entirely unexpected.
The Serbian superstar was kicked out of the tournament during the first set of his fourth round clash with Pablo Carreno Busta after swatting away a tennis ball that hit a female line judge in the throat.
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While few have argued that it was a freak accident, the unfortunate incident left US Open officials with few options but to default the 17-time grand slam champion, as per the rules.
The US Tennis Association explained the decision came about because of Djokovic's "actions of intentionally hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences".
Djokovic is certainly not the first and won't be the last player to hit a ball away in frustration on the court.
However, the cruel irony of his US Open expulsion has not been lost on tennis fans, with an old clip of Djokovic addressing such frustrations circulating online.
The video was taken during the 2016 ATP Finals in London after Djokovic was warned about angrily smashing tennis ball towards his box after losing a set to Dominic Thiem.
Djokovic was asked by a reporter after the match whether he was concerned about being suspended or fined over similar incidents in the future.
The Serbian star scoffed at the "unbelievable" suggestion from the reporter, before claiming that the media were always "picking" faults in his game.
When pressed further on how close he was coming to being suspended, Djokovic's tone turned to one of sarcasm.
“I’m close? I’m still not suspended, so if I’m not close, I’m not close.”
The reporter then asked: “If that ball had hit a spectator, it could have been serious.”
World No.1 faces backlash after US Open incident
Djokovic couldn't hide his disdain for the suggestion, firing back: “It could have been, yes. It could have snowed in the O2 Arena, as well, but it didn’t.”
The 33-year-old was then asked whether such acts of on-court frustration were an issue for him.
"It is not an issue for me. It’s not the first time I did it," Djokovic scoffed.
Djokovic's fiery exchange has been described as "arrogant", with many in the tennis world viewing his US Open disqualification as poetic justice.
Djokovic's history of petulance / arrogance captured in this video when he gives zero shits that a thrown racket might have injured somebody at the O2. Questions from @NeilMcLeman. Players want *this guy* heading their union?pic.twitter.com/AoR3GT6w3r— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) September 6, 2020
This is from 2016. The point of the tweet is, his behaviour is recurring.— Farah (@farah_v_) September 6, 2020
He’s an entitled child. Karma.— Jonny Reid (@Jonny_2607) September 6, 2020
I tried to like this guy. I really tried but the more I know about him, the more I dislike him. What an arrogant man.— The Honorable Holly Schmidt (@holly_obama) September 6, 2020
Aged like a fine wine in this instance. He can't say he wasn't warned!— Ossieike (@redikki) September 6, 2020
Hey @DjokerNole, do you still think your actions are not an issue? I think your choice to skip the press and directly address tennis fans and the line person speaks louder than your carefully worded social media post.— Sergio Rodríguez (@topoSerGi0) September 6, 2020
Ooh the arrogance , this will now haunt him forever— Tracey Strong (@WelshgirlinMexi) September 6, 2020
World No.1 ‘extremely sorry’ over incident
Djokovic failed to front the media after his US Open disqualification but did release an apology on social media afterwards.
“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, I need 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 apologise to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behaviour.
“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.”
The World No.1 was docked an additional $7,500 ($A10,000) for skipping the mandatory post-match news conference, bringing the total figure for his US Open fines to a whopping $267,500 ($A370,000).
The Serb was slugged $10,000 ($A13,750) for hitting the ball into the line judge and also lost his $250,000 ($A345,000) in prize money for making it to the fourth round.
To put the money in context, Djokovic has earned more than $140 million ($A192m) in prize money over his career, aside from millions more in endorsement deals.