It’s happening all over again. For the second time in as many months, tennis star Novak Djokovic has hit a line judge in the face with a tennis ball at a Grand Slam tournament.
However, this time is was not out of anger. During his fourth-round win over Karen Khachanov on Monday, Djokovic was attempting to return a serve and accidentally hit a line judge on the return volley. The judge wasn’t injured and Djokovic immediately checked to see if the line judge was OK.
Unlike when he hit a line judge in frustration at last month’s US Open, it was determined that this instance was an accident and Djokovic called it “a very awkward situation.”
“I hope he’s fine,” Djokovic said. “He dealt with it in a strong and brave way. But it was a hit because I was very close.”
At the US Open, Djokovic was acting in frustration when he launched the ball at line judge Laura Clark and ended up hitting her in the throat. Djokovic was defaulted from the Grand Slam tournament on the spot because of those actions.
“It was very awkward deja vu,” Djokovic added. “I’m actually trying to find the lines person 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.”
Following Monday’s victory, Djokovic will now take on No. 17 Pablo Carreno Busta in the French Open quarterfinals, which is a US Open rematch. Djokovic was facing Carreno Busta when he defaulted last month.