Novak Djokovic is still living down his shock default from the US Open after accidentally clocking a lineswoman in the throat with a ball swiped in her direction without looking after losing serve.
The world No. 1 will be on best behavior this week in Rome as top seed at the no-fans Masters 1000 being played as a quarantined “ghost” tournament at the empty Foro Italico.
Djokovic, a four-time Rome champion who won his last title here five years ago. called the incident in the fourth round “a very awkward and disappointing way to finish the Open.
“I came into the fourth round feeling good and hitting the ball nicely and confidently – ready in every aspect,” he said in Rome.
“It was totally unexpected and unintended as well to hit her. I accepted it (default, a fine of USD 10,000 and loss of USD 250,000 in prize money) and moved on.
“I don’t think I will ever forget about it because it’s one of those things that stays in your mind for your entire life.”
But the 33-year-old Serb added that he cannot promise a future free of other – perhaps less serious – infractions.
“It’s not completely out of the blue, I cannot promise or cannot guarantee that I will never ever do anything similar to that in my life.
“I’m going to try my best, obviously, but anything is possible in life.”