Novak Djokovic’s ball-slinging mini-meltdown which got him defaulted out of the US Open will forever stain the Serb’s remaining time in tennis, according to the player who cut the template for the tennis bad boy.

John McEnroe, commentating the quarantined, no-fan Grand Slam in New York for ESPN, could not resist piling on after Djokovic was tossed out when a loose ball swiped in anger struck a lineswoman in the throat on Sunday.

Mac said Djokovic “is going to be the bad guy the rest of his career.”

“The pressure just got to him I think. 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.”

Four-time US Open winner and native New Yorker McEnroe was famously defaulted from the Australian Open 30 years ago for verbal abuse to officials; he  did not, however, completely rule out a Djokovic reputation rehabilitation

“I didn’t say he couldn’t recover, I think he could recover, absolutely. He’s chasing history, he’s trying to pass Rafa (Nadal) and Roger (Federer in race to most singles Grand Slam titles in history).

“He’s got a lot of things going for him, but this is obviously a stain that he’s not going to be able to erase, whether he likes it or not,” Mac said of the 33-year-old world No. 1.

“I’m just amazed, amazed that he did something as bone-headed as that in a situation where he was the overwhelming favorite (to win the tournament).”

“You gotta man up there, that’s dumb. It made no sense to me because normally in the past at least I’ve seen him take responsibility when he’s blown it and in this case, it just makes it even worse that he didn’t show up.

“So what if he apologised on Twitter – that’s not good enough, but that’s what happened.”

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