Umpire that disqualified Novak Djokovic from 2020 US Open banned for 12 months
The umpire who ejected Novak Djokovic from the 2020 US Open has received a 12-month suspension from tennis for unethical conduct and an abuse of power after a five-month suspension followed serious allegations regarding his behaviour.
Highest-ranked umpire Soeren Friemel had been placed under an investigation and entered voluntary suspension on June 19th of last year when a younger male umpire made serious allegations against his behaviour and conduct.
The German referee had been missing from a number of tournaments in the lead up to last year’s Wimbledon championships, although “personal reasons” were cited for his absence.
The German is a gold-badge supervisor meaning he plays a major role in determining which umpires receive promotions and get allocated to which events.
Friemel also notably oversaw and refereed the match wherein 20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic was disqualified from the 2020 US Open. In swatting a ball away, Djokovic was defaulted for accidentally striking a line judge in the throat with the stray ball.
A spokesperson for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said “the complaint was that Soeren made inappropriate comments and invitations to an individual.
“The issue was the situation of power imbalance, which led the investigating officer and the panel to find a breach of the code.
“Soeren remains under suspension and we are reviewing our course of action,” the spokesperson concluded.
Friemel’s year-long suspension has been backdated to June 19th 2021 and will end at midnight on June 18 2022.
This means Friemel would be clear to officiate this year’s Wimbledon as a Grand Slam supervisor, although the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) choose their own officials and often prefer officials who have been working at other recent tournaments.
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