Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

Popular This Week

Net Notes - A Tennis Now Blog

Net Posts

Industry Insider - A Tennis Now Blog

Industry Insider

Second Serve - A Tennis Now Blog

Second Serve


By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Sunday, June 4, 2023

The first disqualification of the 2023 Roland Garros generated tears and controversy.

Aldila Sutjiadi and Miyu Kato were disqualified from Roland Garros doubles today after Kato hit a ball that struck a ball girl.

More: When Players Hit People 

More: Nadal Has Surgery, Expects 5-Month Recovery

The default is sparking debate in the tennis world as some suggest opponents Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova urged the umpire, who initially issued a warning, and later the supervisor into upgrading the penalty to a default by asserting "She is crying!" and pointing to the shaken ball girl.

There was no malice in Kato's strike and, unlike Novak Djokovic's 2020 US Open disqualification when he accidentally hit a lineswoman in the throat with a ball, the ball girl saw the ball coming.

In Djokovic's default case, the lineswoman did not see the strike coming as she was behind the action. In this case, Kato was hitting the ball directly toward the ball girl who saw the shot coming.

However, the ball girls hands were full when the ball arrived, she was unable to duck the ball, was struck in the shoulder and began crying.

Initially, the chair umpire issued a warning.

On the opposite side of the net, Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo argued that penalty was not sufficient given the shaken ball girls tears that continued flowing.

During the ensuing delay, the tournament supervisor was called onto the court where Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo stated their case that the ball girl was hit and crying.

After a consultation, the supervisor defaulted Kato and Sutjiadi.

"You’ve hit a ball, and it’s hit someone, and they’re injured," the supervisor told Kato. "You are responsible for that action. Even if it is an accident, you are still responsible for that action."

That decision left a moritified Kato in tears and her partner consoling her in an embrace as their Roland Garros dreams ended.

The default is sparking debate in the tennis world.

Some say by the letter of the law, the supervisor made the correct call as the ball girl was struck and clearly upset and in tears by that blow. If you hit a ball kid or linesperson when the ball is not in play, then you run the risk of default.

Critics say officials failed to apply common sense in that clearly Kato was trying to hit the ball to the ball girl and not hit her and by the fact that Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo leveraged the tears and lobbied officials into upgrading a warning into a default. 

Some veteran tennis fans are calling Roland Garros out for a double standard pointing to the 2003 men's semifinals when a frustrated Guillermo Coria turned and hurled his Prince racquet at the back wall, accidentally brushing a ball kid in the process.

Coria was horrified seeing his racquet nearly nail the ball kid and immediately apologized, officials did not default him and allowed him to complete that semifinal loss to Martin Verkerk. Coria went on to reach the 2004 Roland Garros final and held championship points before losing a heartbreaker to compatriot Gaston Gaudio.