The Hungarian tennis player who prompted a Chinese tennis star’s tearful exit during a match at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Tuesday has addressed the incident.
Contentious call: Two-time Grand Slam women’s doubles champ Zhang Shuai chose to retire from the match following a contentious umpire call and an argument with her opponent, Amarissa Toth.
Zhang had earlier disputed a decision made by the line judge and umpire to call her crosscourt forehand shot that appeared to land on the line, out. As Zhang was seeking reconsideration for the call, Toth approached the mark on the court and used her foot to erase it, as captured in video footage.
Zhang immediately questioned Toth’s actions, to which the Hungarian player responded dismissively, stating that the Chinese player was “making problems.” Zhang, who was trailing 6-5 in the opening set, tearfully chose to retire from the match.
Toth responds: Following the match, Zhang took to her social media platform to share a video of the incident and express gratitude to her supporters.
Toth, who lost to Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl today, said in her post-game interview that she respects Zhang.
“I respect Zhang Shuai as a person and just as much as an athlete. It was never my intention to disrespect, to upset, or to hurt anybody. I realize I shouldn’t have celebrated the way I did after the match.”
“Manipulative video:” The Hungarian Grand Prix has also sparked controversy over a response its Facebook page made to online commenters.
“The Chinese are manipulating the world with manipulative video,” the page replied to a comment.
The WTA has zero tolerance for racism in any form or context. The unfortunate incident that took place yesterday at the Hungarian Grand Prix and subsequent posts are being reviewed and will be addressed.
“Absolutely disgusting”: Several players in the tennis community have spoken out to publicly decry Toth’s behavior.
“Absolutely disgusting behavior,” wrote Australia’s Ajla Tomljanović. “Shuai is a better person than a lot of us for shaking the ref and that girls hand. But then again it’s Shuai we are talking about, ofc she did.”
“That’s another level of unsportsmanlike conduct. Just wow,” tweeted two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.
“Well that’s a quick way to lose respect from your peers,” wrote Australian Olympian Ellen Perez. “I’m actually shook by the level of disrespect from this girl.”