On Sunday, there was a controversial ending to a French Open doubles match when the No.16 seeds, Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi, were disqualified from the tournament due to a ball girl being struck by a ball.
During their third round match, Japan’s Kato and Indonesia’s Sutjiadi were winning 3-1 in the second set after losing the first set to Sara Sorribes Tormo from Spain and Marie Bouzkova from the Czech Republic.
The Eurosport broadcast captured the moment when Kato hit the ball to the back of the court, seemingly by accident, after a point. It didn’t seem like she had deliberately aimed for the ball girl, but unfortunately, the ball struck her head. The distressed ball girl, standing at the back of the court, was clearly upset.
The chair umpire, Alexandre Juge, gave a code violation on Court 14, followed by the arrival of grand slam supervisor Wayne McKewen and tournament referee Remy Azemar. Following discussions between all parties involved, it was declared that Kato and Sutjiadi had been disqualified.
The announcement was met with jeers and boos from the Roland Garros audience, while Sutjiadi comforted Kato.
Ben Rothenberg, a journalist who covers tennis, expressed his frustration on Twitter with a call made during a match. He stated that the ball was not hit out of anger, but rather was hit to a ball girl in order to keep the match moving since it was the other team’s turn to serve. The ball girl was occupied and reacted slowly.
This is not the first instance where a player has been disqualified at a major tennis tournament. A notable occurrence took place in 2020 when Novak Djokovic was removed from the US Open for accidentally striking a line judge.
As stated in the rule book for grand slam tournaments, players are prohibited from aggressively, dangerously, or angrily striking, kicking, or throwing a tennis ball anywhere within the tournament grounds unless it is in the reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including warm-up).
According to the rule book, the final and unappealable decision in cases of default will be made by the referee after consulting with the grand slam chief of supervisors.
According to the rule book, a player who is defaulted forfeits all ranking points and prize money earned at the tournament.