16th seeds women’s doubles pair Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi were disqualified after accidentally hitting a ball kid during their match third-round match against Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo on Sunday (June 4) on Court 14 in Paris.
This happened when the Japanese doubles stars dropped the first set and were 3-1 with a break in the second set when Kato ended up hitting the ball girl. The girl wasn’t aware of the same when Kato struck the ball to the other side of the court in the usual manner.
This left the kid in tears as after being given the warning by chair umpire Alexandre Juge, Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo insisted the two should be defaulted from the tournament because the ball kid was crying. After this, the tournament supervisor Wayne McKewen and referee Remy Azemar and other officials discussed the matter with the chair umpire before deciding that Kato and Sutjiadi should be disqualified from the clay-court Grand Slam.
This led to jeers and boos from the French crowd as Sutjiadi comforted Kato who was crying. Giving his opinions on the matter, tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg tweeted: “Brutal call. Ball not hit in anger whatsoever, just hit across to ball girl to keep the match flowing because it was the other team’s turn to serve. Ball girl had hands full, reacted late.”
Mirra Andreeva also narrowly avoided being defaulted from French Open
Just a day earlier, during the women’s singles match between the teen sensations Mirra Andreeva and Coco Gauff, the former, out of frustration during the first set ended up firing a shot at the crowd. For this, she was given a warning. If the ball ended up hitting someone, then she would have been disqualified from the tournament even before her defeat to Gauff.
“Right after I thought that it was a really stupid move from me because it was not necessary to do that. Yes, so that was not the best I could do and not the best. It was really bad what I did,” Andreeva said after the match.
In 2020 former world number one Novak Djokovic even got defaulted from the US Open when he unintentionally hit a line judge.
According to the rule, players “shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw a tennis ball within the precincts of the tournament site except in the reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including warm-up).” If a player gets defaulted, he/she loses all the ranking points earned in the tournament, including the prize money.
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