The line judge who was struck by Novak Djokovic’s ball has received death threats – including a vile post saying she’ll join her dead son “soon”.
The US Tennis Association didn’t want to confirm Laura Clark’s name because vicious trolls have been sending her abuse over the incident on Sunday.
Clark’s injury resulted in Djokovic being disqualified against Pablo Carreno Busta – even though the Serbian player was the top seed and heavy favourite to win the US Open.
His fans were not impressed with the decision and targeted Clark, writing hate-fuelled comments on her public profile before it was put on private.
In 2008, her son Josh in a died motorcycle accident, reports said, and one sick fan told her: “Don’t worry, you’ll be there soon,” in a disturbing Instagram comment.
Another sickeningly added: “Hahahahahahahahaha YEEEEES, YEEEEEEEES.”
In fact, almost every one of the posts on her profile, which was set up in 2011, has been targeted by trolls who have called her “sick” and an “alcoholic.”
One user wrote on a picture promoting a wine company: “You can drink gallons of alcohol but not survive a small tennis ball… Bad acting. Shameless.”
Clark, who is from Kentucky, is currently staying at a hotel where the tournament doctor is observing her.
She will return to work when she’s fit to do so, a source told the New York Post.
Djokovic took to social media to tell his fans to stop the disgusting behaviour.
He wrote: “Dear #NoleFam thank you for your positive messages.
“Please also remember the linesperson that was hit by the ball last night needs our community’s support too.
“She’s done nothing wrong at all. I ask you to stay especially supportive and caring to her during this time.
“From these moments, we grow stronger and we rise above. Sharing love with everyone.”
He had earlier issued a grovelling apology, saying the “whole situation has left me really sad and empty” after he hit the ball in frustration.
He wrote: “I checked the line person and the tournament told me that thank goodness she’s feeling good.
“I am extremely sorry for causing her so much stress. So unintentionally. So wrong.
“I will not disclose her name to respect her privacy. As for the disqualification, I have to go back in and work on my disappointment and turn it all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human.
“I apologise to the US Open tournament and everyone involved for my behavior.
“I am very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thanks and I’m so sorry.”
The incident sparked a huge reaction online when Clark fell to the ground in great pain before Djokovic came to see if she was okay.
Djokovic had knocked a ball to the back wall of the court in Arthur Ashe Stadium after losing the match’s 11th game – but it struck the unsuspecting line judge.
The world No1 – who was looking to win his 18th major – was kicked out of the tournament as a result the “reckless” action, in keeping with Grand Slam “abuse of ball” guidelines.
He was fined £189,000 and docked of all his ranking points earned from the event.