Hungarian tennis player Amarissa Toth has apologized for her actions after being accused of ‘disgusting’ behavior in her win over China’s Zhang Shuai at the Budapest Open.
Her run in the tournament came to an end on Thursday after a 6-3, 6-1 straight sets loss against Ukraine’s Kateryna Bendl in the round of 16.
The local player issued a video statement following his exit on the Budapest Open’s social media pages, in which he apologized for his actions.
“I never thought the first WTA main draw success of my career would cause such a storm,” Toth said.
‘I am very sorry for what happened, I respect Zhang Shuai as a player and as a person.
Amyrisa Toth has apologized for her controversial actions against China’s Zhang Shuai
Zhang Shuai (pictured) was left in tears and unable to continue at the Budapest Open after Toth made a series of controversial moves.
‘It was not my intention to disrespect, hurt or upset anyone, let alone Zhang Shuai.
‘I realize that after the match I shouldn’t have celebrated the way I did and I’m sorry for 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.
‘I hope that in the future I will have the opportunity to sit and talk with Zhang Shaui and tell him that our match ended like this.’
Toth’s comments Zhang left the court in tears after their match led to the 20-year-old being accused of ‘setting a new low for the player’.
The veteran Chinese player hit a crosscourt forehand that landed on the line but was called by the line judge, with Zhang furious at the decision and demanding to speak to the tournament supervisor.
Zhang argued with the umpire for several minutes over the controversial call while he was jeered and jeered and Toth appeared to laugh. The Hungarian then walked up to the mark left by the ball which was called and used his shoe to wipe it away.
Zhang shouted from his side, ‘Stop, stop, stop, mark! what are you doing Why would you do that?’
Tooth (pictured) was seen walking towards the contested ball and kicked it out with his foot before the officials got a closer look.
Shuai received a lot of support from former players after the match’s controversial ending
Toth initially denied that he misbehaved in his match with Zhang in the previous round.
Toth replied: ‘Because you’re causing trouble.’
Zhang went on to win the game, but was visibly stressed during the transition.
A physio was called in to examine him before the world number 28 retired trailing 6-5 in the opening set of their match in Budapest.
TV commentators explained that Zhang cried ‘floods of tears’, with one calling the episode a ‘panic attack’.
The 34-year-old shook hands quickly with the umpire and Toth as he made his premature exit, before pointing to sections of the crowd who booed him.
Zhang later took to social media to complain about the call and thanked those who supported him.
‘All practice attempts were wrong, because you were out when you wanted to hit close to the line, even touching the line,’ Zhang wrote.
Toth’s behavior during the match was condemned by fans and players as ‘disgraceful’ and ‘a new low for the player’.
Katerina Bendle sent a message of support to Zhang after defeating Toth in the round of 16.
The Hungarian initially denied that his behavior was inappropriate, but has since decided to apologise.
Beindl, who defeated Toth to reach the quarterfinals, addressed the controversy during his on-court interview Thursday.
‘I just want to say I hope they can be fair and Shuai Zhang is feeling better and hopefully he’s getting better and we’ll see him back soon,’ Bendle said.
‘He’s an incredible player, very respectful and a great person.
“There’s a lot to learn from him.
‘I think we should all be respectful of each other, no matter what.’
The controversy escalated into a more racist row after tournament organizers accused China of ‘rigging’ footage to make homegrown youth Toth look bad.
Who were the players involved?
Shuai, 34, who has spent more than a decade in the sport, is a two-time major champion in women’s doubles after claiming victory at the Australian Open in 2019 and the US Open two years later. Both of these wins came alongside fellow Australian Samantha Stosur.
The Chinese star reached the Wimbledon final in 2022 alongside Belgium’s Elise Mertens, only to be beaten by Alexa Guarachi and Andreja Klepac.
Her career-high doubles ranking is No. 2 in the world and she has won 12 titles on the WTA tour.
As a singles player, Shuai reached two major quarterfinals at the Australian Open in 2016 and Wimbledon three years later. He is one of only five Chinese tennis players in history to reach this stage of a Grand Slam and is ranked world No. 22.
Toth, 20, is just a few years into her professional career after making her WTA Tour main-drew debut at the Budapest Grand Prix in 2021.
She has career high rankings of 534 in singles and 264 in doubles, and has claimed 12 ITF circuit finals titles – 11 of which have come in doubles.
The Hungarian youngster’s highest-ranked win to date came at the 2022 Slovak Open, where she got the better of Germany’s Eva Lies in the first round.
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