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    05 June 2023

    Controversial Disqualification at French Open Doubles Event in 2023 Following Ball Girl Incident

    Unintentional Ball Hit Results in French Open Disqualification

    The French Open has been rocked by controversy after a women’s doubles team was disqualified due to an unfortunate mishap. During the match, Japan’s Miyu Kato hit a ball girl with a stray ball, leaving her visibly distressed. The incident happened when Kato sent a cross-court shot towards the ball girl between points. Although she received a warning from the umpire at first, protests from opponents Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo led to their disqualification. The 16th seeds were forced to forfeit their prize money and points as per Roland Garros rules. Kato later apologized on Twitter, saying that it was completely unintentional and expressing regret for causing distress to everyone involved in the game.

    Crowd Reacts Negatively to Disqualification Decision

    The crowd reacted negatively to this decision as they booed the officials who made it. Bouzkova explained why she protested against Kato: “It’s difficult because the girl was crying for 15 minutes… We told them [Kato and Sutjiadi] it’s very unfortunate.” According to International Tennis Federation (ITF) rules, players are not allowed to violently or dangerously hit balls within tournament premises except in pursuit of a point during matches or warm-ups. Abuse of balls is defined by ITF as intentionally hitting balls out of court enclosure or hitting them recklessly with negligent disregard of consequences. In Mirra Andreeva’s case during women’s singles on Saturday at Roland Garros; although she thumped a ball into spectators’ area which hit someone while playing Coco Gauff but remained in-game after receiving code violation only.

    Prior Incidents Highlight Need for Safety Measures

    This latest incident highlights once again that tennis players need always be careful when handling their equipment. In 1995, former British number one Tim Henman was disqualified from Wimbledon after accidentally striking a ball girl with a wayward ball during a doubles match. While such incidents are rare, they underscore the importance of safety measures designed to protect players and spectators alike. It is up to tournament officials to decide whether an incident warrants a warning or disqualification but should not be taken lightly. In conclusion, it’s unfortunate that such incidents occur in competitive sports like tennis where safety concerns are paramount. Hopefully, this will serve as another reminder for all players to exercise caution when playing on court and ensure that everyone involved is safe at all times.

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