© Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts during his men's singles first round match against Andreas Seppi of Italy at the Zhuhai Championships tennis tournament in Zhuhai in China's southern Guangdong province on September 25, 2019. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic’s disqualification from the US Open will change the course of tennis history, Australian great Todd Woodbridge says.

Djokovic was defaulted from the New York Grand Slam after hitting a lineswoman in the throat with a ball during his fourth-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.

The Serbian world No.1 pleaded his case with officials but was handed a mandatory suspension, ejected from an event that he was a hot favorite to win. An 18th major title went begging as Djokovic departed in shame.

Djokovic’s Australian archrival, Nick Kyrgios, responded with this question. Woodbridge was stunned by the scenes on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“It’s sensational – you could throw so man adjectives at it. It’s crazy, to say the least,” Woodbridge told MM. Was it the right decision? Absolutely. There was no choice for the officials but to send Novak on his way, send him packing. It sits in our rules that if you hit anybody that is on the court – whether it be intentional or unintentional like Novak’s was – if you hit the ball quite hard and you hurt them, that it’s an automatic default. It’s going to change the course of tennis history, this result today.”

Woodbridge said that Djokovic, playing in New York in the absence of great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, had thrown away a decisive Grand Slam crown.

“He certainly has [thrown one away], Woodbridge said. He was on his way to win another Grand Slam title, it would have been his 18th. He was far and away the best player at this tournament at the moment. [He was] chasing Roger at 20 [Slams] and Rafael Nadal at 19. It was a free Grand Slam title, if you like. He was in good form, he’s done everything properly.”

Woodbridge rebuked Djokovic for not facing the music afterwards.

“He’s compounded the error too today by no going to the press conference straight after the match, Woodbridge said. He let the grounds about 30 minutes later, after this incident happened. He hasn’t faced up to the press. He’s going to be talking about this for weeks to come, when he gets to Paris for Roland Garros. This has sort of changed the whole storyline of tennis and perhaps is may change that question we have: Who is the greatest of all time, that these three (Federer, Nadal and Djokovic) seem to be playing out.”

Djokovic got some sympathy, from No.5 seed Alexander Zverev. He claimed that the world No.1 was unlucky.

“I think the supervisors and all them are just doing their job, but very unlucky for Novak, Zverev said. If it would have landed anywhere else we’re talking a few inches he would have been fine.”

New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg said that the incident epitomized Djokovic’s 2020 season; seemingly referring, primarily, to his decision to host the Adria Tour event mid-coronavirus pandemic.

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