Amarissa Kiara Toth’s controversial acts during her first-round tennis match against Zhang Shuai at the Hungarian Grand Prix this week was blasted, and she has now apologized.
Toth erased a ball mark on the clay court with her foot while Shuai was seeking clarification from the umpire. That act led Shuai to explode on the umpire, eventually leading to a reported panic attack by Shuai that forced her to retire from the match.
Toth was also seen celebrating Shuai dropping out of the match as she was in tears.
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“I did not think that my first ever WTA main draw success of my career would cause such a storm,” Toth said in a statement on her Facebook. “I am extremely sorry for what happened, I respect Zhang Shuai as a player and as a person. It was never my intention to disrespect, hurt or upset anybody, let alone Zhang Shuai.
“I do realize I shouldn’t have celebrated the way I celebrated after the match and I’m sorry for that. I was acting in the heat of the match and got caught up by my emotions and the moment. I focused on tennis, I didn’t want to win like that.”
The match, tied 5-5 in the opening set, saw Shuai hit a cross-court forehand that seemed to land on the line.
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However, it was deemed out.
Shuai protested the call, wanting a match supervisor to come to the court to discuss the situation. However, Toth walked over to the ball mark and rubbed her foot on it to wipe away any evidence that the ball might have hit the line.
Shuai asked Toth at the moment why she would do such a thing, to which Toth was heard answering, “Because you’re making problems, that’s why.”
Shuai ended up getting back on the court but was showered with boos from the crowd, which was a home crowd for Toth, who is Hungarian. Streams of tears could be seen going down her face and she eventually retired.
“I don’t understand why she made a fuss out of it, that she wanted to overrule the judge’s decision,” Toth said, per media outlets. “I don’t understand why she didn’t accept it, but she made trouble for herself.”
Several of Toth’s peers in the sport despised the act.
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“Absolutely disgusting behavior,” Ajla Tomljanovic from Australia tweeted. “Shuai is a better person than a lot of us for shaking the ref and that girls hand. But then again it’s Shuai we are talking about, ofc she did.”
Another Australian, Ellen Perez, said, “Well that’s a quick way to lose respect from your peers. I’m actually shook by the level of disrespect from this girl.”
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Toth ended up losing to Kateryna Baindl in the round of 16 on Thursday.