Amarissa Kiara Toth’s controversial acts during her first round tennis match against Zhang Shuai at the Hungarian Grand Prix this week were criticized and she has now apologized.
Toth erased a ball mark on the clay court with his foot as Shuai sought clarification from the referee. That act led to Shuai exploding on the referee, which ultimately caused Shuai to have a panic attack that forced her to withdraw from the match.
Toth was also seen celebrating Shuai pulling out of the match while crying.
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«I didn’t think my first WTA main draw success of my career would cause such a storm,» Toth said in a statement on her Facebook. «I am very sorry for what happened, I respect Zhang Shuai as a player and as a person. It was never my intention to disrespect, hurt or upset anyone, let alone Zhang Shuai.»
«I realize I shouldn’t have celebrated the way I did after the match and I’m sorry about that. I was acting in the heat of the match and got caught up in my emotions and the moment. I focused on tennis, I didn’t want to win like that.»
The match, tied 5-5 in the first set, saw Shuai hit a forehand cross that appeared to land on the line.
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However, it was discarded.
Shuai protested the call, wanting a match supervisor to come to the pitch to discuss the situation. However, Toth walked over to the ball mark and rubbed it with his foot to remove any evidence that the ball might have touched the line.
Shuai then asked Toth why he would do such a thing, to which Toth was heard to reply, «Because you’re making trouble, that’s why.»
Shuai ended up making his way back onto the court, but was showered with boos from the crowd, which was a hometown crowd for Toth, who is Hungarian. Rivers of tears could be seen running down his face and he finally withdrew.
“I don’t understand why he made such a fuss, that he wanted to overturn the judge’s decision,” Toth said, according to the media. «I don’t understand why he didn’t accept it, but he created problems for himself.»
Several of Toth’s peers in the sport scorned the act.
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«Absolutely disgusting behaviour,» Ajla Tomljanovic from Australia tweeted. «Shuai is a better person than a lot of us for shaking the referee’s hand and that girl’s hand. But then again, it’s Shuai we’re talking about, of course he did it.»
Another Australian, Ellen Perez, said: «Well, that’s a quick way to lose respect from your peers. I’m actually shocked at the level of disrespect from this girl.»
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Toth ended up losing to Kateryna Baindl in the round of 16 on Thursday.