Watch: ‘Disgusting’ sportsmanship sparks outrage as Hungary’s tennis star explodes | Tennis news

Huge controversy hit the Budapest Open on Tuesday in the match between Shuai Zhang and Amarissa Kiara Toth, when the Chinese top-50 player was forced to withdraw from the match after collapsing on the court. The events in Budapest have led to massive criticism of the referees and the reluctance of clay court tournaments to use line-calling technology, but the main story of the match was the poor sportsmanship displayed by Toth.

Amarissa Kiara Toth removes the tag from the ball, leaving Zheng Shuai shocked (Twitter)

The controversy began at 5-5, 15-15 on Zhang’s serve when a forehand from the Chinese player landed very close to the sideline but was called out. The chair umpire went over to check the mark of the ball on the clay court, but Zhang pointed out that she had checked the wrong mark on the court.

A long debate between the player and the umpire would ensue, with Zhang shocked that the umpire would not listen to her regarding the call she made. While some tournaments have used FoxTenn’s Real Bounce technology for line calls, others continue to rely on referee discretion.

However, controversy continued to rear its head. Another tight call at the 30-30 mark was followed by Toth stepping up to the ball’s mark and wiping it away, despite Zhang yelling from across the court, “Wait wait wait wait wait leave the mark!”

The 20-year-old Hungarian wildcard had previously also been seen on camera laughing at the situation and, combined with her deplorable sportsmanship to remove the tag, has received heavy criticism from across the tennis world for her actions.

Players are required to leave marks on the court, as removing them with the racket or foot (done so as not to confuse that mark with other marks later in the match) is seen as an admission that the player in question has lost the point. However, in Toth’s case, the intentions of the same remain disputed. The Hungary player was criticized for his actions on social media.

Zhang was overwhelmed by the moment despite hanging on to serve, and wanted to break down in tears after the turn of events. Matters were made worse for Zhang by the crowd mocking her debate with the judge. The Chinese player has struggled with mental health and spoken about it in the past, leading many fans to wonder if her reaction was connected to it as well.

The Chinese player decided to retreat by shaking hands with the referee and his opponent, who immediately raised his arms in celebration – another example of classlessness by the Hungarian, who was called out for his immature and unempathetic behavior on Twitter by several users:

Zhang’s colleagues on the WTA Tour have come out in support of the player, with Australians Daria Gavrilova, Ajla Tomljanovic and Ellen Perez writing on Twitter. Perez was forthright about her disgust at Toth’s actions, writing “Well that’s a quick way to lose the respect of your peers. I’m actually appalled at the level of disrespect from this girl. If I see this girl tomorrow, I will tell her , how disgusted I am.”

Gavrilova simply tweeted “This is so so so so so so wrong,” while Tomljanovic pointed out that Zhang contrasts with Toth as one of the nicest and most classy players on tour: “Absolutely disgusting behavior. Shuai is a better person than many of us to shake the referee and the girls’ hand.But then again this is Shuai we’re talking about, [of course] she did.”

Zhang himself tweeted after the end of his fight, but directed his complaints at the referee rather than the actions of his opponent. “All efforts to practice were wrong because when you wanted to hit closer to the line, you even touched the line still OUT … I love you and all the girls who support me and stand by my side,” Zhang wrote.

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