After a ball struck a ball girl, a doubles duo was dismissed from the French Open.
On Sunday, No.16 seeds Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi were disqualified from the French Open doubles match when a ball girl was struck by a ball.
After losing the first set to Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo and Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova, Japan’s Kato and Sutjiadi of Indonesia were ahead 3-1 in the second set of their third round match when the incident occurred.
Eurosport coverage showed Kato inadvertently striking the ball to the back of the court after a point, and while it didn’t appear that she intended to harm the ball girl, the ball struck her on the head. The sobbing ball girl was noticeably upset as she stood at the back of the court.
Before grand slam supervisor Wayne McKewen and tournament referee Remy Azemar emerged on Court 14, chair umpire Alexandre Juge issued a code penalty. Following conversations between authorities and players, Kato and Sutjiadi were declared defaulted.
The revelation was met with jeers and boos from the Roland Garros audience, while Sutjiadi consoled Kato.
“Brutal call,” tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg tweeted. The ball was not hit in anger, but rather to keep the match moving because it was the other team’s time to serve. “Ball girl had her hands full and reacted slowly.”
It’s not the first time a player has been disqualified from a grand slam. One of the most high-profile incidences occurred in 2020, when Novak Djokovic’s US Open was cut short due to his unintended hit on a line judge.
The grand slam rulebook states that participants “shall not hit, kick, or throw a tennis ball within the precincts of the tournament site except in the reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including warm-up)”
According to the regulation book, “in all cases of default, the referee’s decision in consultation with the grand slam chief of supervisors shall be final and unappealable.”
The regulation book stipulates that a player who defaults forfeits all ranking points and prize money earned at the tournament.