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Djokovic's exit means US Open to crown brand new champion

With Novak Djokovic’s unceremonious exit from the US Open after hitting an official in the throat with a ball, we will finally see a new champion at the top of tennis.

Novak Djokovic in action at the US Open on 6 September 2020. Picture: @usopen/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - It has been 1,463 days since we last saw a men’s grand slam champion that was not named Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic.

Stan Wawrinka, who was at the time in the form of his career, overcame Djokovic in the US Open final in 2016 to be crowned champion at Flushing Meadows.

To put it in perspective; Denis Shapovalov was 17-years-old and still in high school, Daniil Medvedev – now world number four – had only just reached his first quarterfinal on tour, Stefanos Tsitsipas was only just turning pro and Alex De Minaur was 16 and still on the ATP’s Challenger Tour.

Well, now things have changed.

With Djokovic’s unceremonious exit from the US Open after hitting an official in the throat with a ball, we will finally see a new champion at the top of tennis. All the men above and a selection of others are on the cusp of a maiden slam. Even crazier is the fact that we will finally see a player born in the 1990s win a men’s grand slam title.

Djokovic was disqualified under the ruling that he “intentionally hit a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences.”

The Serbian has since released an apology on his Instagram page:

View this post on Instagram

This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok. I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong. I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy. As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being. I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behavior. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry. Cela ova situacija me čini zaista tužnim i praznim. Proverio sam kako se oseća linijski sudija, i prema informacijama koje sam dobio, oseća se dobro, hvala Bogu. Njeno ime ne mogu da otkrijem zbog očuvanja njene privatnosti. Jako mi je žao što sam joj naneo takav stres. Nije bilo namerno. Bilo je pogrešno. Želim da ovo neprijatno iskustvo, diskvalifikaciju sa turnira, pretvorim u važnu životnu lekciju, kako bih nastavio da rastem i razvijam se kao čovek, ali i teniser. Izvinjavam se organizatorima US Opena. Veoma sam zahvalan svom timu i porodici što mi pružaju snažnu podršku, kao i mojim navijačima jer su uvek uz mene. Hvala vam i žao mi je. Bio je ovo težak dan za sve.

A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole) on

“This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok. I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong,”

“As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being. I apologize to the US Open tournament and everyone associated for my behavior. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry.”

Although a sad end to what looked like Djokovic’s 18th grand slam title bid, his exit from Flushing Meadows comes at a time when men’s tennis possibly needed a freshening up. Now, at least for this year because if we are being honest Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have many more slams to win, we will see a fresh face at the top of men’s tennis – albeit maybe only this one time, for now.

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