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I can’t promise DQ incident will be a one-off – Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has said he has “moved on” from his US Open disqualification, but admitted he is unable to say he would never do something similar in the future.

The world number one was defaulted in the fourth round against Pablo Carreno Busta after accidentally hitting a line judge when striking a ball away in frustration.

Djokovic apologised for the incident on social media, having skipped the post-match press conference, while he went on to urge his supporters not to blame the lineswoman.

The Serbian has little time to mull over his disqualification, with the Italian Open taking place this week before the French Open starts next Monday, but when asked to reflect on the incident he said it was possible he could do it again.

“Of course it was a shock to finish the US Open the way things finished for me,” he told reporters. “Of course it could have happened earlier in my career, it could have happened to many players.

“It was just unfortunate it did hit the line umpire in an unfortunate place. There was a lot of speculation about whether it was deserved. I accepted it, I moved on.

Djokovic added: “I felt really sorry to cause the shock and drama to her. I felt very good about myself, my game.

“It was totally unexpected and very unintended but, when you hit the ball like that, you have a chance to hit somebody that is on the court.

“I accepted it and I had to move on. Of course I didn’t forget about it, I don’t think I’ll ever forget about it.”

Djokovic is targeting a fifth Italian Open title and first since 2015 before he bids to end his four-year wait for a second French Open.

The 33-year-old heads into next week’s Grand Slam as second favourite behind Rafael Nadal, and Djokovic is pleased to have tournaments so soon after his New York disappointment.

Djokovic said: “I don’t think I’ll have any major issues coming back to the tour and being able to perform well. I have my first chance here in Rome.

“It’s great I think I have a tournament a week or 10 days after it happened because I feel the earlier I get back in competition mode the faster I’ll overcome the memory and re-programme it. I’m hoping for the best.

“I spent some time with my family and I looked at my shoulder that I hurt a little bit when I fell down. It’s OK for now so I’m going to be playing Rome and hopefully getting far here.”

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