Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic has pleaded with fans to support the line judge he hit with an errant tennis ball, after she was reportedly hounded off Instagram by his furious supporters.
Djokovic, who defaulted from the US Open on Monday morning for accidentally striking linesperson Laura Clark, today called on the #NoleFam to show “our community’s support”.
“She’s done nothing wrong at all,” the world #1 men’s player said. “I ask you to stay especially supportive and caring to her during this time.”
Earlier, Djokovic issued a public apology to Clark, writing, “I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong.”
“I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy,” he added.
But News.com.au reports a tabloid in Djokovic’s native Serbia published Clark’s Instagram handle, apparently exposing her to death threats and torrents of abuse from his hardcore supporters.
“One day karma will come for you,” one commenter reportedly said. “You were the reason the US Open disqualified the best tennis player.”
The outlet states other commenters also posted abusive comments on an Instagram post referring to her son, who died in 2008.
Clark reportedly deleted her account as a result.
Since some people released the lineswoman’s IG i just checked comments on her first picture. This is scary. These are just some of the comments. pic.twitter.com/s6aFP5YiWD
— Nawal (@NawalNadal) September 7, 2020
Clark is reportedly taking it easy at a tournament hotel, and is under the supervision of a US Open doctor.
Along with being booted from the tournament, Djokovic was docked of his earnings and points gained during the competition.
His disqualification means the tournament will have a first-time winner for the first time since 2014.