US Open line judge struck by the ball hit by Novak Djokovic before his disqualification is bombarded with abusive messages and death threats on Instagram by sick trolls mocking her son’s death in a bicycle accident 12 years ago
- Novak Djokovic was automatically disqualified from the US Open on Sunday
- He inadvertently struck line judge Laura Clark in the throat with a tennis ball
- Fans of the world No 1 took to Instagram and have bombarded Clark with threats
- On a post which was dedicated to her late son, user wrote: ‘You’ll join him soon’
The US Open line judge hit in the throat with a ball by Novak Djokovic has been subjected to vile online abuse after fans of the world No 1 discovered her Instagram account.
Laura Clark, from Owensboro, Kentucky, was catapulted into the spotlight on Sunday night after Djokovic inadvertently hit her with a stray tennis ball, resulting in him being disqualified from the US Open.
Laura Clark was the line judge struck by a ball from Novak Djokovic at the US Open on Sunday
Fans of Djokovic have been quick to find Clark on social media to send her death threats
Clark’s son died in 2008, and one of Djokovic’s fans told her ‘don’t worry, you’ll join him soon’
Clark went down instantly, seemingly in considerable pain, before Djokovic came to check whether she was okay before the match was defaulted and the Serbian kicked out of the tournament.
Fans of the world No 1 were quick to take to social media, finding Clark’s public profile and sending thousands of hate-filled messages, including death threats.
In one post, which was dedicated to her late son, a user wrote: ‘Don’t worry, you’ll join him soon’ while another posted: ‘hahahahahahahaha YEEEEES, YEEEEEEEES.’
Clark’s son Josh died in 2008 from a bicycle accident at the age of just 25.
Almost every post on Clark’s Instagram account – going as far back as her first picture in September 2011 – has been spammed with comments from Djokovic’s fans, with many calling her ‘sick’ and an ‘alcoholic’.
Clark promotes a wine company in a series of different posts on her social media profiles, and one user wrote: ‘You can drink litres of alcohol but cannot survive small tennis ball?? Bad acting. Shameless.’
Clark is a tennis lover and has worked her way up from junior and college tournaments to officiate at the sport’s showpiece events such as the US Open and Davis Cup.
In the aftermath of the incident, Djokovic posted a grovelling apology on his social media, which read: ‘This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok.
‘I’m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong. I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy. As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being.
‘I apologise to the US Open tournament and everyone associated for my behaviour. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry.’
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