Tennis star Novak Djokovic got himself booted from the US Open on Sunday after he — accidentally, it seems — hit a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball, sending her sprawling to the ground clutching her neck.
Djokovic’s suspension was pretty much automatic — the rules are clear — but rather than blame him for hitting a ball in frustration after play was over, his fans decided to take their anger out on the line judge instead.
As the Daily Mail explained:
Fans of the world No 1 were quick to take to social media, finding [the line judge’s] public profile and sending thousands of hate-filled messages, including death threats. …
[Her] son died in 2008, and one of Djokovic’s fans told her ‘don’t worry, you’ll join him soon’ … while another posted: ‘hahahahahahahaha YEEEEES, YEEEEEEEES.’
They were not much more polite on Twitter, calling her a “bitch,” a “cunt” and a “Karen,” and accusing her of exaggerating her pain after being struck by the ball.
There’s nothing, it seems, that online misogynists can’t blame on a woman, but blaming a woman for being hit with a ball is a new one for me.
She didn’t make the rule that got Djokovic disqualified. She didn’t force him to hit the ball in frustration. Her only crime was catching a fast-moving tennis ball in the neck.
Djokovic, for what it’s worth, has asked his fans to stop targeting her, noting that “she’s done nothing wrong.” But somehow I doubt that will shut them up.
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