By Oli Gamp For Mailonline
Published: 06:48 BST, 7 September 2020 | Updated: 06:50 BST, 7 September 2020
Four-time US Open champion John McEnroe believes Novak Djokovic is 'going to be the bad guy for the rest of his career after he was disqualified from the Grand Slam for smashing a ball at a line judge.
The World No 1 looked frustrated as he was broken in the opening set against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta and hit the ball backwards as he was set to change ends - striking the woman, who keeled over after being hit in the throat.
While it was not intentional, the Serbian was defaulted after a ten minute discussion with referee Soeren Friemel and umpire Aurelie Tourte, despite his pleas for leniancy and claiming 'she doesn’t have to go to the hospital for this'.
Novak Djokovic has been disqualified from the US Open for hitting a ball at a line judge
Four-time winner US Open John McEnroe says Djokovic will struggle to live the incident down
The World No 1 apologised for striking the woman but officials had no choice but to default him
And McEnroe believes Djokovic caved in under pressure from the game as well as a turbulent year that has seen the star come under fire for staging his failed Adria Tour in June that saw three players and himself diagnosed with coronavirus.
'The pressure just got to him I think,' he told ESPN. 'I think a lot's been going on off the court. It's obviously affected him and now whether he likes it or not, he's going to be the bad guy the rest of his career. It'll be interesting to see how he handles it.'
McEnroe has experience of being defaulted from a Grand Slam. He was booted from the Australian Open by British umpire Gerry Armstrong in 1990 for verbal abuse, and believes the incident will become 'a stain he's not going to be able to erase'.