The 33-year-old tennis star, who was disqualified for accidentally hitting a lineswoman during a match in the Grand Slam tournament earlier this month, spoke with reporters for the first time, where he acknowledged his rash behavior.
"The rules are clear," Djokovic said during a news conference, the Associated Press reported. "So I accepted it. I had to move on and that’s what I did."
"I’m going to take this in as profound as possible for me as a big lesson," he added. "I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been comprehending. I’ve been talking to my team. It’s just one of these things that is just unfortunate and happens. You have to move on.”
Djokovic noted that he took responsibility for his actions and the subsequent consequences and said that he has called the lineswoman to check on her.
"I felt really sorry to cause the shock and drama to her, because she didn’t deserve that in any way," Djokovic said, the AP reported. "She obviously is volunteering and doing her work. She loves tennis, and she’s been there, as I understood, for quite a few years."
Seth Wenig/AP/Shutterstock Novak Djokovic
When the incident first occurred, Djokovic initially left the tournament without speaking to reporters. He shared a statement on social media hours later.
"This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok. I'm extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong," he wrote.
"I'm not disclosing her name to respect her privacy. As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being," the No. 1 ranked men's player continued.
"I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behavior. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry," Djokovic concluded his post.
Djokovic's disqualification ended his 29-match winning streak and his bid for an 18th Grand Slam title, according to the AP.
"Sorry for him. He had an opportunity there,” Nadal said. "But in some way you should not be doing this. ... It is important to have the right self-control on the court."