What do the tennis regulations say about balls?

Novak Djokovic was disqualified from the 2020 US Open after hitting a chair umpire with a ball. This is what the ATP and ITF say about your violation.


Novak Djokovic, world number one and top contender to win the 2020 US Open, was disqualified during his round of 16 match. When 'Nole' faced Spanish Pablo Carreño, the Serbian lost his serve in the first set, leaving Carreño just one game away from taking the first set. At that moment, as a result of desperation, Djokovic hit a ball with his racket towards the back of the court, hitting the nut of a linesman, who choked and had to be treated.

Djokovic's disqualification for assaulting judges during a match is not the first, as there are several precedents: David Nalbandián was immediately expelled from the final of the Queen's tournament in 2012 after kicking a linesman. For his part, Denis Shapovalov also hit with a ball, in this case, the chair umpire who was refereeing his match against Kyle Edmund. Like Djokovic, he was immediately disqualified.

This is what the ATP Official Book of Rules says in its 2020 version, as well as that of the ITF for the Grand Slam, about the infractions committed by Novak Djokovic:

In its section 8, referring to the 'Code' that the participants of the circuit must follow, the ATP includes in its point 4, letter M, section 4a), what it calls as 'Ball abuse': Players must not hit, kick or violently, dangerously or angrily throwing a tennis ball while on the tournament pitch, except during one point in a match (including warm-up). For the purposes of this rule, ball abuse is defined as intentionally or recklessly hitting a ball off the court, dangerously or recklessly hitting a ball on the court, or hitting a ball without regard for consequences. Violation of this section will subject the player to a fine of up to $ 350 for each violation. Furthermore, if such a violation occurs during a match, the player will be penalized according to the Penalty Points Program. Very similar is what the International Tennis Federation (ITF) comments in its article III of the Code of Conduct in a Grand Slam, chapter N on the abuse of the ball. Although, in this case, the ITF specifies that the fine can be up to $ 20,000.

The USTA later confirmed in a statement that the Serbian's disqualification was due to breach of this rule: "According to the Grand Slam rule book, after his actions of intentionally striking a ball in a dangerous or reckless manner on the court or negligently hitting a ball without regard for the consequences, the tournament referee disqualified Novak Djokovic from the 2020 US Open. Due to his disqualification, Djokovic will lose all qualifying points earned at the US Open and will be fined the award. in cash won in the tournament in addition to any or all the fines imposed with respect to the incident ", read the note issued by the organization of the event.

Regarding the consequences of disqualification, mentioned in the last lines of the USTA statement, the ITF specifies in its rules for a Grand Slam, in its article III of the Code of Conduct, chapter T, the following: The Referee, in consultation with The Grand Slam Chief Supervisor may declare a disqualification for a single violation of this Code, or in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule set forth above. In all cases of disqualification, the decision of the Referee in consultation with the Chief Grand Slam Supervisor will be final and unappealable. Any player disqualified as provided will lose all ranking points earned in that tournament and may be fined up to the prize money won in the tournament, in addition to any other fines imposed in connection with the incident. In addition, any player in breach of the provisions of this document may be excluded from all other events, if any, in that tournament.

It remains to be seen, then, what will be the amount of the fine that Djokovic will receive. Building on the precedents again, Shapovalov was fined $ 7,000 after hitting the chair umpire, although the chair umpire was sanctioned according to ATP rules, while Djokovic will receive sanction from the ITF. The Canadian's fine, by the way, was lower after he immediately apologized.

Photos from as.com
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