French tennis sensation Hugo Gaston recently competed in his home slam, the 2023 French Open, with the goal of winning his first Grand Slam title. His run was, however, cut short by Alex Molcan in the opening round, who defeated him in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-4.
Gaston recently made headlines due to his ATP fine saga. He was fined €144,000 ($154,361) for his fourth instance of unsportsmanlike behavior this year, which was more than his 2023 earnings.
The incident occurred when he tossed a second ball onto the court while the original ball was in play during his second-round match against Borna Coric at the 2023 Madrid Open. It was believed to be an attempt to secure a let and restart the point.
In a press conference, Hugo Gaston broke his silence and expressed his dissatisfaction with the media coverage of the incident. He also acknowledged that his actions were a result of frustration.
"I saw a lot in the press. It doesn't make me very happy because every time they're saying things they say, they don't know whether it's true or false, but I know that it was just frustration," he said.
"It's not a good action, but that's life. You don't always react as you should. I made a mistake. I paid for it. That's life. But, once again, it was not cheating at all. It was just 100 percent frustration," he added.
"I would never have played the point again; that's something that is not like me" - Hugo Gaston
Hugo Gaston also denied the claim that his actions were a repeated occurrence and clarified that he had never engaged in such behavior before. He revealed that he immediately apologized to his opponent, emphasizing that the match proceeded smoothly afterwards, with no further issues arising.
"I also heard that it was a repeated action, that it was a repeated action on the fact that I got a fine. But I've never done that type of thing because that's something that is not like me. And I knew directly after the match. I apologized to my opponent. The match went very well after that. There were no problems," he said.
The Frenchman reiterated that it was an expression of frustration and not an act of cheating. He clarified that the point in question was not replayed, emphasizing that he would never have insisted on replaying it.
"On the spot, the chair umpire hadn't seen it, but, of course, it's not something that's good to do, but once again, it was just frustration. I wasn't cheating, and we never played the point again. I would never have played the point again," Hugo Gaston said.