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Novak Djokovic doesn't think he'll 'ever forget' disqualification from US Open

2020 US Open Champion Dominic Thiem sits down with CNN to talk about his epic comeback, the feeling of winning his first major, and playing against his friend Alexander Zverev.

Posted: Sep 14, 2020 4:21 PM
Updated: Sep 14, 2020 4:21 PM

Novak Djokovic says his disqualification from the US Open has been a "big lesson" but admits he doesn't think he will "ever forget about it."

The Serbian was disqualified last week after hitting a line judge with a ball during his fourth-round game of the grand slam against Pablo Carreno Busta.

Djokovic apologized for the incident -- in which he took a ball from his pocket and hit it behind him only for it to strike the judge in the throat -- on social media afterward.

The world No.1, who says he's checked on the judge, Laura Clark, to make sure she's OK, spoke for the first time since the incident, explaining he was "shaken by the whole thing."

"Of course, it was very hard for me to accept right after it happened. For a couple of days, I was in shock and I was shaken by the whole thing," Djokovic said at a news conference in Rome.

"There was a lot of speculation about whether it was deserved. I accepted it, I moved on. I checked on Laura after the match, she said that she was fine. I felt really sorry to cause the shock and drama to her because she didn't deserve that in any way.

"I felt very good about myself, my game. It was totally unexpected and very unintended but, when you hit the ball like that, you have a chance to hit somebody that is on the court. I accepted it and I had to move on. Of course, I didn't forget about it, I don't think I'll ever forget about it."

READ: Novak Djokovic's default opens the door for young stars to win a grand slam, but will success come with an asterisk

'I'm hoping for the best'

Even before the incident for which he was disqualified, Djokovic's aggression had shone through. He had whacked a ball angrily against the advertising hoardings earlier in the same match.

But while he acknowledges he is working to be "the best version of myself on the court and off the court," his fiery temperament is something that has helped the 17-time grand slam winner reach the top of the sport.

"I understand that I have outbursts and this is the personality and the player I have always been," he said. "I obviously went through ups and downs in my career in managing to control my emotions more or less but you're alone out there, it's a lot of intensity, a lot of pressure and you have to deal with all of that so sometimes situations like this happen.

"I cannot promise that I will never, ever do anything similar to that. I'm definitely going to try my best that something like that never happens again, obviously, but anything is possible in life. I'm going to take this in as profound as possible as a big lesson."

Djokovic is preparing to appear at this week's Italian Open and the French Open, which begins on September 27. And getting back onto the court was important for him in getting over the incident.

"I don't think I'll have any major issues coming back to the tour and being able to perform well. I have my first chance here in Rome.

"It's great I think I have a tournament a week or 10 days after it happened because I feel the earlier, I get back in competition mode the faster I'll overcome the memory and re-program it. I'm hoping for the best."

Rafael Nadal, who chose not to defend US Open title in New York, will play his first tournament since the end of February in Rome.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos

He said of Djokovic's incident: "The consequences have been always the same. Novak was unlucky. The rules say clearly that's a default.

"Sorry for him. He had an opportunity there. But in some way you should not be doing this. It is important to have the right self-control on the court because, if not, you can be unlucky as he was."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
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Pike298393
Scott292567
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Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
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Benton93124
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Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
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Houston10048259
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Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
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Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
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Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
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Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
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