World number one Novak Djokovic has admitted that he was ‘lucky’ for staying in the French Open after his backwards racket-toss nearly hits a linesman behind him.
Tennis players were known to vent their frustrations in the game with or on their racket which would then be noted down by the umpire for racket abuse, but Djokovic flirted with a worse possibility.
The 29-year-old was already went two sets up but still showed frustration too as he was unable to convert a break point in the third set. In response to anger or excitement, Djokovic flung his racket backwards, which, unbeknownst to him, flew straight for a linesman.
Fortunately, by chance or good reflexes, the linesman went into evasive action and managed to dodge the racket in time and spare Djokovic disqualification as well as another year of waiting.
Had the racket hit the linesman, there was little doubt that Djokovic would have been disqualified immediately.
Djokovic immediately held up a hand in apology, and escaped with just a code-violation.
“I am aware that I have been lucky, and I apologised to people that have been in this particular situation with me and that could have been hurt by my racket,” he said after the game.
“But it was never the intention. It was just some unfortunate bounce, but fortunate ending of that scenario. That’s all I can say.”
But Djokovic’s frustrations pales in comparison to Berdych’s, who appealed fruitlessly for officials to stop the game due to rain. Indeed, the weather had dogged the entire tournament in Roland Garros, but the longest delay lasted little over 10 minutes – Djokovic merely wrapped things up as play resumes, winning 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.
And with that, Djokovic reaches his sixth-straight semi-final in the French Open to meet Austrian Dominic Thiem.