NEW YORK — Not only does Novak Djokovic have to deal with the shame of being disqualified from the US Open after accidentally hitting lineswoman Laura Clark with a ball, he has to quell angry fans from adding insult to injury, literally.
Clark, who was not at the Flushing Meadows site on Monday, received hundreds of hostile message after a Serbian tabloid newspaper published her Instagram handle.
Many of the messages were abusive or threatening, while some claimed that she had exaggerated her reaction to being hit in the throat by a stray tennis ball.
The backlash prompted the world No. 1 men’s tennis star to step in and plead with his fans to offer their support to her as well as him.
“Dear #NoleFam thank you for your positive messages. Please also remember the linesperson that was hit by the ball last night needs our community’s support too,” he tweeted to his 8.7 million followers. “She’s done nothing wrong at all. I ask you to stay especially supportive and caring to her during this time.”
“From these moments, we grow stronger and we rise above,” the 33-year-old Serbian sports star added. “Sharing love with everyone. Europe here I come.”
Clark was struck in the throat after a frustrated Djokovic showed his frustration during his fourth-round match with Pablo Carreno Busta.
According to a U.S. Open spokesperson, she was “resting comfortably” in a hotel on Monday.
“The line umpire … is under the observation of the tournament doctor and will return to work when she and the doctor feel it is appropriate.”
©2020 New York Daily News