"I was so shocked & disoriented... Writing this with tears in my eyes": Amid French Open controversy over hitting a fan, Terence Atmane breaks silence

2024 Australian Open - Day 2
Terence Atmane had a controversial moment at French Open 2024

Terence Atmane spoke out on his controversial incident at the French Open. The 22-year-old faced Sebastian Ofner in the first round of the Paris Major and lost despite winning the first two sets. The Austrian triumphed 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2, 7-5.

During the sixth game of the third set, Atmane struck a ball so hard that it ended up hitting a woman in the stands. However, the World No. 121 was just given a warning instead of being defaulted.

Atmane took to social media to issue a statement that also had an apology from him. The 22-year-old said that a string in his racquet broke at the time when he hit the ball.

"Hello, Good evening Just to come back to what happened last night regarding the mini drama I'm facing: After losing the 3rd set and leading 4/1 in the 4th, Sebastian saves a break point and just as he sends the ball back to me I have a moment of frustration and decide to send the ball into the net out of frustration," Terence Atmane said.
"Problem: I broke my string at the same moment and found myself watching my ball cross the court and go straight into the leg of a spectator... Of course, my first instinct would have been to go and apologize, but I was so shocked and disoriented by my action that no reaction came to mind... like a blackout where my brain switches off and I can't think of anything else - anything," he added.

Terence Atmane also said that he was working on himself from a mental standpoint and that he was making "enormous progress" in frustration and stress management.

"I'm working very hard on myself mentally and people who know me know that I've made enormous progress in terms of frustration and stress management, even if I'm far from perfect. Stress that 6 months ago was causing me to lose between 4 and 6kg per tournament," Atmane said.

The 22-year-old also said that his actions weren't intentional and sent his apologies to the woman who was hit by his ball. Terence Atmane also said that he was looking for a way to apologize to her face-to-face and offer her a racquet signed by him

"This gesture, which I'm sure you've seen on the media, was not intentional, so please forgive me for my emotional outburst and, above all, I'd like to apologize personally to the lady I'm currently looking for with my agent and the tournament organizers, so that I can tell her straight to her face and offer her one of my signed rackets (if she accepts the offer, of course)," Terence Atmane said.
Terence Atmane's Instagram story
Terence Atmane's Instagram story

Stan Wawrinka and Liam Broady both reacted to Terence Atmane's French Open drama

Terence Atmane in action at the Italian Open
Terence Atmane in action at the Italian Open

Terence Atmane's colleagues Stan Wawrinka and Liam Broady were far from pleased with the chair umpire's decision during Terence Atmane's match against Sebastian Ofner.

Broady took to X and criticized the umpire and the supervisor, calling them "atrocious".

"For those wondering… I found the supervising and umpiring in that match ATROCIOUS. Umpire wasn’t even going to give a warning. And supervisor went to ask spectator about it in front of 1000 French fans chanting let him play. What a circus. French in France I guess," Liam Broady wrote.

Stan Wawrinka reacted to the Brit's comments with a laughing and facepalm emoji

Elsewhere in the French Open, Rafael Nadal lost in the first round of the clay-court Major for the very first time in his career after losing 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 to fourth seed Alexander Zverev.

Among other players, Nicolas Jarry, Ugo Humbert, Cameron Norrie and Alejandro Tabilo are the men's seeds who lost in the first round. In the women's singles event, Maria Sakkari became the first Top-10 seed to lose after Varvara Gracheva beat her.

2021 champion Barbora Krejcikova and Beatriz Haddad Maia were also notable players who exited the tournament in the first hurdle.

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