Tennis Player hits ball girl: Miyu Kato apologises after being disqualified from the 2023 French Open


The Japanese-Indonesian pair of Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi has been disqualified from the women’s doubles event of the French Open

Japanese player Miyu Kato has issued an official apology on social media following her disqualification from the French Open. Kato was disqualified on account of misconduct and dangerous behaviour after her lofted shot at the conclusion of a point inadvertently hit a ball girl.

The contact was unintentional, but the ball girl was left shaken up and crying, which prompted chair umpire Alexandre Juge to issue a code violation. The Grand Slam supervisor Wayne McKewen and tournament referee Remy Azémar were called to the court. After a lengthy discussion, Kato and her partner Sutjiadi were issued an immediate disqualification.

Kato took to Twitter to apologise to everyone who has been directly or indirectly affected by the incident including the fans. The Japanese player wrote: “I would like to sincerely apologize to the Ball Girl, my partner Aldila&Team, & my supporters because of today’s unfortunate mishap. It was completely unintentional. As a result, I am penalized by RG by forfeiting my prize money & points. I appreciate all your continued support!

However, it’s not all over for Kato at the 2023 French Open. She is still alive in the mixed doubles event though and is scheduled to play the quarter-finals alongside her German partner Tim Putz.

Are incidents of misconduct on court rapidly increasing in Tennis?

The tennis community has witnessed multiple incidents of misconduct on the court in the last couple of years. Alexander Zverev hit a chair umpire’s stand repeatedly at the 2022 Acapulco Open, Nick Kyrgios almost hit a ball boy after smashing a racquet on the court at the Indian Wells Masters last year while Jenson Brooksby hit a ball boy with his racquet at the 2022 Miami Open. Although the incidents were mostly similar in nature, the end verdicts are completely different from each other.

At the Indian Wells Masters, Kyrgios smashed the racquet against the ground which bounced off and almost hit a ball boy who ducked in time. Later on, the Australian was fined US $25,000. Zverev was angered by an umpiring call that didn’t go in his favour at the Mexican Open. He started hurling abuses at the chair umpire in rage and hit his sitting stand multiple times with his racquet. Soon after the match, the tournament authorities disqualified him from the tournament on grounds of misconduct. At the Miami Open, Jenson Brooksby threw his racquet in frustration and it bounced up to hit a ball boy who was standing by the scoreboard at the back of the court. Brooksby was handed a point penalty but was allowed to continue the match. And now, Kato has been disqualified from the tournament for an unintentional act.

Incidents of misconduct in Tennis
Incidents of misconduct in Tennis

This inconsistency in decision-making is eye catching and certainly leaves a lot of room for improvement – if the governing authorities plan to reduce instances of misconduct on court!

More Tennis news

Follow our dedicated Tennis page for instant Tennis news and updates