Japan's Miyu Kato and Indonesia's Aldila Sutjiadi were disqualified from their match for the women's doubles tournament at Roland Garros on Sunday, after the Japanese tennis player hit an involuntary ball to a ball player. The ball hit the neck and the girl could not stop crying because of the fright and the pain.
It happened in the second set of the duel on Court 14 of Roland Garros when Kato, without it being in play, took a ball off the court with the racket and it hit the ball boy, who was not paying attention to what was happening on the other side of the court.
In the first instance, after the rivals, the Czech Marie Bouzkova and the Spanish Sara Sorribes Tormo warned him, the chair umpire Alexandre Juge decreed a warning to Kato. But after Remy Azemar, the tournament's head judge, and Wayne McEwen, the Grand Slam supervisor, went to court to find out what had happened, Kato and Sutjiadi were disqualified. Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo were declared winners.
"I would like to sincerely apologize to the ballmaker, my teammate Aldila and team and my fans for today's unfortunate mishap. It was completely unintentional. As a result, RG penalizes me by losing prize money and points. I appreciate all your continued support!" tweeted Kato.
Kato's tweet had dozens of responses, most of which were signs of support. "Crazy decision. I really feel sorry for you, but many players (except Marie and Sara obviously) are supporting you, "said the French tennis player Alize Cornet pointing against the attitude of the rivals, who were the ones who warned the chair umpire.
"Head high Miyu, unfortunate incident, terrible decision of the referees and even worse of your opponents," Brazilian tennis player Bruno Soares supported her.
"Madam, you are acting with empathy and grace, but I think you have nothing to apologize for. I'm sad that they have taken away his opportunity to advance further," said Paul McNamee, a former Australian player who also served as CEO of the Australian Open and Hopman Cup.
The look of the rivals
"It's a bad situation for everyone," Bouzkova said. "But it's something that, I assume, sticks to the rules. And although it is something very unfortunate for them... This is a decision for the judge."
Bouzkova said she didn't see when the ball hit the ball, but that the girl "was crying for 15 minutes."
He added that one of the officers explained that the ball "must do some kind of damage to the affected person" and that, "initially, (Juge) did not notice."
Bouzkova said she and Sorribes Tormo told Juge to "find out more about what happened and ask our rivals their opinion about what happened."
Recent and heavy background
During Coco Gauff's 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-1 victory over Mirra Andreeva on Saturday, the Russian fluttered a ball into the stands at Suzanne Lenglen Stadium after dropping a point in the first set. The Russian received a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct, but nothing more.
"I'm aware of that. I didn't see it," Bouzkova said. "I guess it depends on the circumstances and these are things that can happen... It's definitely complicated."
In another notorious incident three years ago in the U.S. Open round of 16, Novak Djokovic was disqualified from his match against Pablo Carreno-Busta after hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball.