No. 16 seeds Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi exited the 2023 French Open women's doubles on Sunday in controversial fashion.
Kato and Sutjiadi were in action against Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in the third round of the women's doubles. Kato and Sutjiadi recovered from losing the first set 7-6(1) to lead 1-3 in the second.
After the fourth game in the second set, Kato, in an attempt to pass the ball, accidentally hit a ball girl on the other side of the net. The chair umpire initially gave the Japanese-Indonesian pair a warning for Kato's actions.
Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo, however, rushed to the match official and argued that their opponents should be defaulted. Then, after a discussion with the match supervisor, the chair umpire decided to disqualify Kato and Sutjiadi, awarding Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo the win.
Several tennis players, both past and present, took to social media in reaction to the events. French player Alize Cornet called it an "insane decision" and stated that all players besides Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo were supporting Kato and Sutjiadi.
"Insane decision. I really feel sorry for you, but a lot of players (except Marie and Sara obviously) are supporting you," French tennis player Alize Cornet wrote on Twitter.
Former doubles World No. 1 Paul McNamee expressed sadness at Kato and Sutjiadi being denied the opportunity to progress further at the French Open.
"Madam, you are acting with empathy and grace, but I believe you have nothing to apologise for. I am sad that your opportunity to advance further has been taken away," he stated.
Former World No. 6 Gilles Simon was furious with the incident and expressed hope that Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo would find it difficult to rest after their actions.
"When you claim the disqualification of the opposing team when you haven't even seen the ball sent. I dare to hope that they will have a little trouble falling asleep anyway. As for the decision itself... arbitration in all that is most stupid," he tweeted. [Translated from French]
Here are a few more reactions to Kato and Sutjiadi's French Open disqualification:
Miyu Kato apologizes following French Open controversy, laments the loss of prize money and points
Miyu Kato has apologized for her action at the French Open which led to her and her partner Aldila Sutjiadi getting disqualified from the Grand Slam.
Kato clarified that her actions were "completely unintentional" and that she and her partner have been stripped of both prize money and points.
The Japanese took to social media and 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.”