A young boy was left in tears after a Romanian tennis star lobbed their racquet into the French Open crowd on Thursday.
A little boy was left in tears after a red-faced Romanian tennis star lobbed their racquet into the French Open crowd on Thursday.
Irina-Camelia Begu chucked the equipment in a rage against a water box while she was 2-0 down in the third set of her second-round match, The Sun reports.
But the racquet bounced violently into the stands of Court 13.
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And though it did not hit the youngster directly, he was left distraught and startled by the incident.
World No. 63 Begu was lucky not to be defaulted, but she did receive a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct after consultation with a tournament supervisor.
The 31-year-old later apologised and posed for a photo with the kid and his parents.
The unseeded star remains in the French Open following her 6-7 6-3 6-4 comeback win over Russian No. 30 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Begu said: “It‘s an embarrassing moment for me. I just want to apologise.
“In my whole career I haven‘t done something like this and I feel really bad and sorry. Sorry for the incident.
“It was a difficult moment because I didn‘t want to hit that racquet.
“You hit the clay with the racket but you never expect to fly that much.”
Alexandrova said: “I am so disappointed to leave Roland Garros like that.
“I was trying to do my best but seems like the rules were against me.
“This shouldn‘t be happening.
“I hope after today‘s match rules will be improved for everyone’s safety. We are responsible for our racquet.”
Journalists and viewers on social media could not believe Begu avoided disqualification and was allowed to carry on.
“Folks, why are we still allowing this?” the New York Times’ Ben Rothenberg tweeted.
“Begu didn’t throw the racquet especially hard but the consequences of her action shouldn’t be shrugged off by officials.”
Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios, who earlier this year was fined US$25,000 for an outburst during his Indian Wells quarter-final, posted on Twitter: “So 25k fine? Suspension?”
Earlier in the French Open, Russian Andrey Rublev also escaped major punishment when he slammed a ball in anger and it rebounded, flashing past a tournament court assistant.
Former world doubles No. 1 Rennae Stubbs added: “Seeing the Begu incident andRublev incident from the other day, tennis officials really need to step up their game.
“I think both should have been defaults.
“We MUST start making players accountable for stupid decisions and those were both stupid decisions and could have been a lot worse.”
In 2020, Novak Djokovic was famously booted out of the US Open after accidentally striking a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission