NOVAK DJOKOVIC accidentally smacked a ball into the face of a line judge at the French Open – just a month after being disqualified from the US Open.
The Serbian world No1 took on Russia’s Karen Khachanov in the fourth round at Roland Garros.
Novak Djokovic accidentally smacked a line judge in the face with a tennis ballCredit: Eurosport
He attempted to return a Karen Khachanov but the ball caught the frame and flew off into the court-side judgeCredit: Eurosport
And there was a shade of deja vu as he struck one of the umpires in the face just like he did at Flushing Meadows.
Khachanov was serving at 3-4 40-40 in the first set under the roof of Court Philippe-Chatrier as the rain poured in Paris.
Djokovic could only manage to get the frame of his racket to the shot, sending the ball flying directly into the nearby judge.
And in an unfortunate turn of events, the ball whacked the line judge flush on the face.
Djokovic immediately apologised and checked on the judge, who held his face momentarily but thankfully was unhurt after the freak accident.
He broke the Russian’s serve in that game and held to secure the opening set of the match.
Khachanov did take a look back to the umpire – presumably to check the line judge was okay rather than cheekily wondering if the top seed would be disqualified.
Djokovic was famously booted out of the US Open in September after hitting a ball away in frustration and catching Laura Clark in the throat.
He went over immediately to make sure the official was unhurtCredit: AP:Associated Press
Djokovic was defaulted from the US Open when he caught a line judge in the throat after hitting a ball away in frustration
The Serbian star caught Laura Clark who collapsed to the ground and needed medical attentionCredit: Getty Images – Getty
He begged with tournament officials to keep him in the US Open but to no availCredit: AP:Associated Press
He pleaded his case but in vain as he was denied his chance to win an 18th Grand Slam title with Pablo Carreno Busta handed the win.
According to the rulebook, “players shall not at any times physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site”.
It adds that: “physical abuse is the unauthorised touching of an official, opponent, spectator or other person”.
This time, though, they was no frustration of any kind from Djokovic as the ball inadvertently cannoned off his racket as he tried to make the return.
And fans on social media were quick to comment on the French Open incident.
One quipped: “Djokovic just sniped another line judge.”
Another wrote: “What’s this guy got against the side judges?”
And a third user joked: “He did this on purpose. Why are the cops not here already?”
The accident comes just days after Djokovic suggested tennis needs to move on and use technology instead of physical line judges, as was the case on some courts at the US Open.
He said: “The technology is so advanced right now, there is absolutely no reason why you should keep line umpires on the court. That’s my opinion.
“Of course, I understand technology is expensive, so it’s an economical issue and a question mark. But I feel like we are all moving towards that, and sooner or later there is no reason to keep line umpires.
“Ball kids, of course, but line umpires, I don’t see why any more, to be honest.”
He added: “I would also probably then have less chances to do what I did in New York.”