Novak Djokovic appeals to fans not to abuse line judge hit by ball

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Novak Djokovic has asked his fans not to abuse the line judge at the centre of his US Open disqualification.

The world No 1 was thrown out of the New York tournament on Sunday night after he accidentally hit lineswoman Laura Clark with a ball after striking it out of annoyance.

Clark was stood at the back of the court and was struck in the throat as Djokovic showed his frustration during his fourth-round match with Pablo Carreno Busta.

She is reportedly bruised and was heard gasping for air after the incident, but has been targeted by Djokovic’s angry fans online who accused her exaggerating her reaction.

Clark was not at the Flushing Meadows site on Monday.

A US Open spokesman said on Monday of the line judge’s condition: “The line umpire who was struck by the ball is resting comfortably in the hotel today and is under the observation of the tournament doctor and will return to work when she and the doctor feel it is appropriate.”

In addition to forfeiting his entire prize money of $250,000 (£190,000), Djokovic has also been fined an additional $10,000 (£7,000) for not attending a mandatory press conference.

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