Tennys Sandgren disqualified from ATP Challenger event for striking line judge with ball

Novak Djokovic disqualified from US Open after hitting line judge

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Tennys Sandgren found himself defaulted from an ATP Challenger tournament when he accidently hit a line judge with a ball. The former world No 41 himself was struck in the groin before hitting the ball away in frustration in just the second game of his Cary Challenger match against Christopher Eubanks. It’s not the first time a tennis player has been disqualified for accidentally hitting an official, with Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov previously finding themselves in similar situations.

Sandgren, now world No 103 and the top seed at the ATP Challenger event, was serving when a ball boy bounced a ball to him that inadvertently hit the American in the groin.

Sandgren flinched after the ball hit him while the ball boy immediately apologised, before striking the ball with his racquet in frustration.

The ball unfortunately ricocheted off a fence and hit a line judge in a moment that was not caught on camera, as someone could be heard saying “oh s***”.

Video footage then showed Sandgren putting his hands up to apologise and accept that the move resulted in an automatic default, before shaking hands with his opponent.

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The two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist was able to see the funny side of the incident, but admitted he was entirely to blame.

“So tonight I got hit in the nuts by a ball kid toss with a little too much mustard, slapped the wayward ball into the fence, which collided with a refs tushy as he was walking to the other side, resulting in a default,” he tweeted shortly after the match ended.

“How’s your evening going?” he added, with a laughing-crying emoji.

Sandgren made sure to note that he had no hard feelings over the outcome of the match and was entirely to blame, replying to his original tweet and writing: “And just to be clear, this was all totally my fault”.

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It’s not the first time a match has ended in disqualification for a player after a ball has accidentally made contact with an official.

Many will remember how Novak Djokovic’s 2020 US Open campaign ended, when he was defaulted during his round of 16 clash against Pablo Carreno Busta.

The world No 1 was broken during the first set, giving the Spaniard a chance to serve for it at 6-5, when he hit a ball away in frustration that unintentionally made contact with a lineswoman.

Djokovic engaged in a lengthy discussion with tournament officials at the net but accepted his fate and shook hands with Carreno Busta, who later revealed he didn’t know whether the match would continue.

“I just try to be focused if the case [is] that we have to continue playing. And then finally Novak [gives] me the hand. That’s it,” he said in his post-match press conference.

Meanwhile, before world No 12 Denis Shapovalov was known as one of the top players on tour, he first made a name for himself when he accidentally hit an umpire in the eye during a Davis Cup match when he was just 17.

While facing Kyle Edmund in Canada’s Ryder Cup tie vs Great Britain, Shapovalov fired a ball in anger which inadvertently hit chair umpire Arnaud Gabas in the eye, and the teenager was disqualified from the match, with the ITF later fining him but acknowledging the incident was unintentional.

The umpire later had surgery to repair a fractured eye socket, and Shapovalov later revealed the pair had become “friends”, messaging one another from time to time.
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