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Japanese tennis player Mio Kato cries after being disqualified on Sunday.
Kato and her partner, Aldela Sotjiadi, missed Sunday’s doubles match after the Japanese kicked the ball innocently into the backcourt with a single point.
Kato, who was seen crying on court after being disqualified, returned to action on Monday and reached the semi-finals of the mixed doubles after winning in straight sets alongside her German partner Tim Pots.
It is widely reported that Kato was in tears on court after her quarter-final win and was visibly emotional in the press conference afterwards, leaving the room momentarily to sob before answering any questions.
“I think, first of all, that all of us, including Miu, are happy that the ball girl is okay because she’s obviously been beaten,” Putz told reporters after returning to the room with Kato.
“Myu feels terrible about what happened. This was just so unfortunate for everyone, especially for her and the girl.”
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Kato in a match with German mixed doubles partner Tim Potts on Monday.
A tearful Kato gave a very short answer in Japanese, saying that it was difficult for her to speak English at this time.
While Potts understood why the officials made the decision, he said there was clearly no intent to harm the ball girl.
“I understand that she hit the ball girl. It wasn’t intentional. I don’t think he was angry.”
“I think everyone saw the pictures. It wasn’t anything malicious I did. However, I hit the ball with the girl.
Then two supervisors have to come to court, and they probably haven’t even seen it. All they see is a crying ball girl who was hit by a ball.
“At that moment, it is very difficult to make that decision.”
On Monday, Kato tweeted an apology to the girl, her marital partner and supporters, saying the incident was a “Not intended at all.”
“I want to thank everyone for your continued support. I have received a global outpouring of positive energy, and it has lifted my spirits tremendously,” booksin a post that got support from other players.
“I am now in the semi-finals of the mixed doubles, where I will use every bit of this positive energy to succeed!”
According to the Grand Slam rulebook, “Players may not violently, dangerously, or angrily hit, kick, or throw a tennis ball within the boundaries of the tournament venue except in a reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including a warm-up)”
The rulebook states: “In all cases of default, the referee’s decision in consultation with the Grand Slam’s Chief Superintendent is final and not subject to appeal.”
A player who defaults loses all ranking points earned in the tournament, clearing the rulebook, and all prize money won in the tournament.
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