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'You got to man up': John McEnroe says Novak Djokovic should embrace 'bad guy' persona following US Open disqualification

'You got to man up': John McEnroe says Novak Djokovic should embrace 'bad guy' persona following US Open disqualification
Novak Djokovic needs to get used to being the "bad guy" of tennis following his controversial US Open exit, according to the man who played the role so expertly in the past, John McEnroe.

Djokovic was thrown out of the tournament after hitting a line judge with a ball as the pre-tournament favorite was eliminated from the competition in unusual circumstances.

Djokovic was 5-6 down in the first set of his match against Pablo Carreno Busta on Sunday before striking out at a ball in frustration. The ball struck a female line judge in the throat, leading to the umpire disqualifying the Serbian star from the match, eliminating him from the tournament in the process.

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Djokovic posted an apology to Instagram, saying that the lessons learned from the incident would help his "growth and evolution as a player and human being."

But McEnroe, whose hot-headed persona during his playing heyday led to him being dubbed "Superbrat," said the 33-year-old buckled under pressure and should embrace the "bad guy" tag that will inevitably be placed on him following the tournament. 

"The pressure just got to him. I think a lot has been going on off the court," said McEnroe.

"It's obviously affected him and whether he likes it or not, he's going to be the bad guy the rest of his career.

"If he embraces that role, I think he could recover. He's got a lot of things going for him, but this is a stain that he's not going to be able to erase."

Also on rt.com ‘So unintended. So wrong’: Djokovic apologizes for hitting line judge with ball after US Open disqualification

Djokovic left Flushing Meadows without facing the media following his disqualification, and McEnroe sad the Serb would have been better served by showing up and facing the press after his controversial exit instead of simply posting a statement on social media.

"You got to man up. It made no sense to me. In the past I've seen him take responsibility when he's blown it. In this case, it makes it even worse," he said.

"So what if he apologized on Twitter... that's not good enough." 

Also on rt.com 'That's definitely a warning to never do that': Naomi Osaka uses Djokovic disqualification to keep her cool in US Open win (VIDEO)