Novak Djokovic steps up preparations for his return to action in Rome

Novak Djokovic steps up preparations for his return to action in Rome as Serbian gets ready for first tournament action since being kicked out of the US Open

  • Novak Djokovic was back in action on Tuesday ahead of the Italian Open in Rome
  • The Serbian will play for the first time since being disqualified from the US Open
  • Djokovic was thrown out in New York after a ball he struck hit a line judge
  • Earlier this week, Djokovic admitted he finds it hard to get his emotions in check

Novak Djokovic has been pictured back on the court as he prepares to play his first match since being disqualified from the US Open for smacking a ball that hit a line judge in the throat.

The Serbian left Flushing Meadows in New York in disgrace earlier this month when he cannoned a ball towards the back of the court in anger during his match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.

It struck line judge Laura Clark in the throat and the Serbian, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, was instantly disqualified by tournament officials.

Novak Djokovic was pictured in practice on Tuesday ahead of the Italian Open in Rome

The Serbian is preparing for his first match since he was disqualified from the US Open

Djokovic was worked hard by coaching staff ahead of his first round match in the Italian capital

But the world No 1 is back in action at the Italian Open in Rome on clay this week and was put through his paces during a practice session on Tuesday.

Djokovic was seen warming up his ground strokes through a variety of drills put on by his coaching staff.

He was forced to shelter from the searing Italian heat under a towel but looked to be focused ahead of his highly-anticipated return.

The tournament’s top seed will play either Italian wildcard Salvatore Curaso or Tennys Sandgren in round two.

Djokovic’s antics at the US Open have divided the sport and long-term rival Rafa Nadal said on Tuesday that ‘it’s important to have the right self-control on court’.

The Spaniard said: ‘The consequences have been always the same. Nothing new on that.

‘Novak was unlucky. [But] The rules clearly say that’s a default. Sorry for him. He had an opportunity there.

‘But in some ways you should not be doing this.

‘It’s very unfortunate, very unlucky situation. But it’s important to have the right self-control on the court, because if not, you can be unlucky.’

The Serbian checks on the lines woman he hit after hitting a ball towards the back of the court

Djokovic was left furious after the umpire decided to kick him out of the New York tournament

But Djokovic is hoping to put the controversy behind him as he chases another Italian Open

But speaking earlier this week, Djokovic admitted his tendency to get riled on court means he sometimes struggles to keep his emotions in check. 

‘I understand I have outbursts and this is the personality and the player that I have always been,’ he said.

‘I cannot promise or guarantee I will never ever do anything similar to that in my life. I am definitely willing to try my best so that something like that never happens again.’ 

‘It’s the first time in my career that something like this happens — of course it could have happened earlier in my career or could have happened to many players. The ball hits a line judge, it was just unfortunate that I hit the umpire in a very awkward place.

‘I checked on Laura after the match. She said she was fine, that there are no injuries.

‘I felt really sorry to cause the shock and drama to her. She didn’t deserve that in any way. She was obviously volunteering as well and doing her work. The rules are clear so I accepted it, I had to move on. Of course, I have not forgotten about it. I don’t think I will ever forget about it.

‘These things stay in your memory for the rest of your life, but I don’t think I will have any issues coming back to the tour and being able to perform well.’




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