Novak Djokovic urges fans not to abuse US Open official online

Novak Djokovic has pleaded for compassion for the line judge he inadvertently struck in the throat with a ball at the US Open, after the female official faced a backlash from fans of the world No. 1 on social media.

The Serb was disqualified in the fourth round after he hit a ball to the back of the court in frustration after dropping serve in the first set against Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, sending the official to the floor.

A section of Djokovic's fans took to social media to hurl abuse at the official after her Instagram user name was carried by Serbian media.

"Shame on you. Old lady full of evil," read one of the messages left on her Instagram account, while other users accused her of faking the injury and "bad acting".

Djokovic tweeted: "Please also remember the linesperson that was hit by the ball last night needs our community's support too. She's done nothing wrong."

A tournament spokesman told Reuters that the line judge appeared to be okay. - REUTERS