Tennis court spats: Panic attack by Chinese player sparks bitter blame game after ‘disgusting’ behavior by opponent… and now it’s racism row over ‘masterful’ video
Hungary’s Amarisa Toth was at the center of an athlete row on Tuesday after she rubbed the mark for a harsh line call against her Chinese opponent after Hungary’s tournament organizers blamed China for ‘rigging’.
A row over athletes at the Hungarian Grand Prix has turned into a racism row after tournament organizers accused China of ‘effectively’ using footage to make compatriot Amarisa Toth look bad.
Toth, 20, faced China’s Zhang Shuai in the round of 32 and a controversial line call went against Shuai as the first set was knotted at 5-5.
When Shuai checked to see if it had entered the net, his opponent rubbed the mark with his foot and the umpire upheld the initial call.
Screenshots of the ball mark clearly indicate that it was, and should have been, the call overturned, and Toth’s behavior was described on social media as ‘disgusting’ by fellow pro Ajla Tomljanovic.
Shuai retired in tears in the next game after suffering a panic attack, and Toth drew further criticism online, with Wimbledon finalist Once Jabeur calling his behavior ‘unacceptable’.
Wow I can’t believe it, Toth went on to remove the sign despite Zhang yelling “wait, keep the sign” pic.twitter.com/qtKC7KGyAO
— LorenaPopa 🕵️♀️🎾 (@popalorena) July 18, 2023
Amarissa Toth rubs in a controversial line call before being checked by Zhang Shuai
A screenshot indicated that the ball was on the line and the call should have gone in Shuai’s favor
Hungarian tournament organizers have defended Toth after labeling his behavior ‘disgusting’
But Hungarian tournament organizers jumped to Toth’s defense in a controversial Facebook post, instead blaming China for media attention to the incident.
“Whether the ball was good or not, Amyrisa did not decide,” the statement said.
‘It was the linesman and then the chair umpire’s decision. The Hungarian tennis player may not have behaved in every situation in her first WTA main draw match, but she didn’t do anything that could be described as a lack of integrity.
‘And there is no confusion, no misunderstanding. The Chinese are manipulating the world with a manipulative video.’
Former world number 19 Magda Lynette hit out at the reaction from the organisers, claiming it was ‘the worst reaction to a tournament I’ve ever seen.’
The WTA has now issued its own response to the statement, insisting it is committed to eliminating discrimination from the game.
The governing body wrote, ‘WTA has zero tolerance for racism in any form or context.’
The sportsmanship spat has now turned into a racism row, with many professionals siding with China’s Shuai (pictured).
Toth, 20, (above) became unpopular after the incident, but refused to apologize for his actions.
‘The unfortunate incident at the Hungarian Grand Prix yesterday (Tuesday) and subsequent posts are being reviewed and resolved.’
Toth and the Hungarian tournament organizers seem to be public enemy number one in the women’s locker room at the moment, and they’re not the only ones criticized for their handling of the incident.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova also said the umpire was ‘unqualified to call the match’ after showing little interest in Shuai’s complaints.
Shuai argued with the official for several minutes after the controversial call, but the umpire sat in his chair and awarded the point to Toth. Meanwhile, he was booed and jeered by the home crowd.
Toth also showed little remorse for his actions, explaining to Shuai that he rubbed off the mark because his opponent was ‘causing trouble’.
Martina Navratilova criticized the umpire for her handling of the situation
When Shuai announced his retirement from the match, Toth immediately turned to the fans and celebrated.
He doubled down on his stance in a post-match interview, telling Radio Kossuth: ‘I don’t understand why he wanted to overturn the referee’s decision.
‘I don’t understand why he didn’t accept it, but he suffered for himself.’
Toth returned to action on Thursday afternoon with a 6-3, 6-1 loss in the last 16 against Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova.
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