Tennis caught up in new recklessness row as world No 8 Maria Sakkari is told to ‘shut your mouth’ after she smacked ball into stands, months after a player was disqualified for hitting a ball girl
Maria Sakkari and Danielle Collins clashed on court as tennis was embroiled in another debate over player recklessness.
Greek world No 8 Sakkari was pulled up by her American opponent at the Canadian Open in Montreal after hitting a ball into the crowd.
Early in the second set, Sakkari smashed the ball into the ground and it bounced up into the stands.
She was quick to hold up a hand of apology to the spectators but Collins wasn’t willing to let the matter lie, asking the chair umpire: ‘Did you just see that? Did you see what happened?’
Sakkari, preparing for her second serve, replied: ‘It didn’t even hit anyone. It was on the ground.’
Maris Sakkari and Danielle Collins were embroiled in a row at the Canadian Open after the Greek player (front of shot) struck a ball into the stands (ball visible to the right of the court)
Sakkari was quick to offer a hand of apology to the spectators but her opponent, Danielle Collins, wasn’t prepared to let the matter rest
Sakkari, the Greek world No 8, protested that she had struck the ball into the court to slow it
Collins duly responds: ‘Shut your mouth, shut your mouth.’
That only served to escalate the row, with Sakkari asking: ‘What’s your problem? I didn’t hit anyone. I framed the ball.’
Not willing to back down, Collins said: ‘You hit the ball into the stands, Maria. You almost hit someone.’
Sakkari then repeats that she didn’t hit anyone, claiming she deliberately struck the ball into the court to slow it down.
As the crowd becomes more animated, the umpire manages to calm things down. Collins went on to win the round of 32 contest 6-4, 6-2 and the two players did shake hands at the end.
Tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg, who shared the clip on X, said: ‘I agree with Collins here – the officials need to be way stricter on players recklessly smacking the ball and throwing racquets into the stands.
‘Should be no looking the other way then that happens.’
Sakkari wasn’t happy that her opponent Collins had accused her of recklessness
Collins told Sakkari to ‘shut your mouth’ as the row escalated during the second set
Sakkari failed to see what the issue was, saying she didn’t hit any of the spectators
There was an amicable ending after Collins claimed victory in two sets to reach the last-16
Japanese player Miyu Kato fired a cross-court shot that hit the ball girl on the shoulder.
Initially given a warning by the umpire, a protest by opponents Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo led to the match being abandoned with Kato and her Indonesian partner Aldila Sutjiadi disqualified despite attempting to plead their innocence.
Kato attempted to console the ball girl and apologised before the Japanese-Indonesian pair pleaded with officials that it wasn’t a deliberate act. The ball girl was guided off court by officials.
When the umpire Alexandre Juge confirmed the disqualification, Kato herself broke down in tears.
During the discussions, one official compared the incident to Novak Djokovic’s disqualification from the 2020 US Open after hitting a line judge in the throat with the ball.
‘If you hit someone and they’re injured, then you’re responsible for that action,’ the official said. ‘Even if you don’t mean it, you’re still responsible for that action.’
A ball girl was left in tears at the French Open after being stuck on the shoulder by a shot by Japan’s Miyu Kato between points – leading to Kato and her partner being disqualified
The ball can be seen just to the left of the court flying towards the ball girl in the bottom left
Kato went over to console the youngster but to no avail as they were disqualified