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This is about as soft as it gets. During a women’s doubles match at the French Open, the chair umpire disqualified one team after one of the players accidentally hit a ball girl. The important point to note, though, is that the DQ came after their opponents essentially demanded they be disqualified.
The disqualified team comprised Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi. According to ESPN, “Kato and Sutjiadi were a set down to Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo but 3-1 up in the second when Kato sent the ball to the opposite end of the court between points, hitting the ball girl and leaving her in distress.”
Kato did not fire the ball out of frustration, but simply sent the ball to the other side of the court. She didn’t even it hit it very hard. She also appeared to apologize to the girl after the incident.
The umpire warned the team after the offense, and that should have been the end of it. However, Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo demanded that the umpire call the match and DQ Kato and Sutjiadi from the French Open.
“No, no, let me explain to you. [Kato] didn’t do it on purpose. [The ball girl] didn’t get injured,” Umpire Alexandre Juge said, according to ESPN.
“She didn’t do it on purpose? She’s crying,” Sorribes Tormo responded.
“And she has blood,” Bouzkova added.
Watch for yourself:
Miyu Kato mendatangi ball girl dan meminta maaf pic.twitter.com/EZJINi95yW— Dr. Samuel L. Simon SpKK (@DrSLSimonSpKK) June 4, 2023
Incredibly weak disqualification knocks women’s doubles team out of French Open
This is quite honestly unbelievable. First of all, if you’re a ball girl or boy at the French Open, you have to assume you might get hit with a tennis ball. That’s part of the job.
Sure, it didn’t happen during play, but it also clearly wasn’t malicious. Warning the offending team to be careful hitting balls in between play seems like a perfectly reasonable resolution.
The problem here lies with the opposing team demanding a disqualification. First off, what a bogus way to win a match at the French Open. As a competitor, that’s how you want to win? By forcing the other team to DQ over an accident.
This is weakness to the highest degree. Shame on them for demanding the DQ. Shame on the umpire for giving in.
Awful, awful ending to a sporting match, all the way around.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak