The on-court spat which has engulfed tennis is now a RACISM row: Merciless Hungarian star, 20, whose ‘disgusting’ behaviour led to Chinese rival’s panic attack, is an enemy in the locker room – but she isn’t the only unpopular one – Maxsports
May 20, 2024

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The on-court spat which has engulfed tennis is now a RACISM row: Merciless Hungarian star, 20, whose ‘disgusting’ behaviour led to Chinese rival’s panic attack, is an enemy in the locker room – but she isn’t the only unpopular one

The on-court spat engulfing tennis: Chinese player’s panic attack after opponent’s ‘disgusting’ behaviour sparks bitter blame game… and now it’s a RACISM row over ‘manipulated’ video

  • Hungary’s Amarissa Toth was at the centre of a sportsmanship row on Tuesday
  • She rubbed out the mark for a tight line call against her Chinese opponent
  • The Hungarian tournament organisers have blamed China for ‘manipulation’

A dispute over sportsmanship at the Hungarian Grand Prix has developed into a racism row after tournament organisers accused China of ‘manipulating’ footage to make homegrown youngster Amarissa Toth look bad.

Toth, 20, faced China‘s Zhang Shuai in the round of 32 and with the first set delicately poised at 5-5 a contentious line call went against Shuai. 

As Shuai made her way to the net to check whether it was in or not, her opponent rubbed out the mark with her foot and the umpire upheld the initial call.

Screenshots of the ball mark indicate it was clearly in, and that the call should have been overturned, and Toth’s conduct was described as ‘disgusting’ by fellow professional Ajla Tomljanovic on social media.

Shuai went on to retire in tears the following game after suffering a panic attack, and Toth received further criticism online with Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur labelling her behaviour ‘not acceptable’.

Amarissa Toth rubbed out a contentious line call before it could be checked by Zhang Shuai

Amarissa Toth rubbed out a contentious line call before it could be checked by Zhang Shuai

A screenshot indicated the ball was on the line and the call should have gone in Shuai's favour

A screenshot indicated the ball was on the line and the call should have gone in Shuai’s favour

The Hungarian tournament organisers have defended Toth after her behaviour was labelled 'disgusting'

The Hungarian tournament organisers have defended Toth after her behaviour was labelled ‘disgusting’

But the Hungarian tournament organisers leapt to Toth’s defence in a controversial Facebook post, instead blaming China for the media attention the incident has received.

The statement read: ‘Amarissa did not decide if the ball was good or not.

‘It was the decision of the linesman and then the chair umpire. The Hungarian tennis player in the first WTA main draw match of her life may not have behaved in every situation, but she did nothing that could be described as a lack of integrity.

‘And there is no deflection, no misunderstanding. The Chinese are manipulating the world with a manipulative video.’

Former world No 19 Magda Linette hit out at the organisers’ response, claiming it was the ‘worst response by a tournament I have ever seen.’

The WTA have now issues their own response to the statement, insisting they are committed to stamping discrimination out of the sport.

‘The WTA has zero tolerance for racism in any form or context,’ the governing body wrote.

The sportsmanship spat has now has now turned into a racism row, with many professionals taking the side of China's Shuai (pictured)

The sportsmanship spat has now has now turned into a racism row, with many professionals taking the side of China’s Shuai (pictured)

Toth, 20, (above) has become unpopular after the incident, but refused to apologise for her actions

Toth, 20, (above) has become unpopular after the incident, but refused to apologise for her actions

‘The unfortunate incident that took place yesterday (Tuesday) at the Hungarian Grand Prix and subsequent posts are being reviewed and will be addressed.’

Toth and the Hungarian tournament organisers appear to be public enemy number one in the women’s locker room at the moment, and they are not the only ones who have been criticised for their handling of the incident.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has also stated that the umpire is ‘unfit to call matches’ after showing very little interest in Shuai’s complaints.

Shuai argued with the official for several minutes following the controversial call, but the umpire stayed in her chair and gave the point to Toth. Meanwhile, she was booed and jeered by the home crowd.

Toth also showed little remorse for her actions, explaining to Shuai that she had rubbed out the mark because her opponent was ‘causing problems’.

Martina Navratilova has criticised the umpire for her handling of the situation

Martina Navratilova has criticised the umpire for her handling of the situation

When Shuai announced her retirement from the match, Toth immediately turned to the fans and celebrated.

She doubled down on her stance in a post-match interview, telling Radio Kossuth: ‘I don’t understand why she made such a fuss out of it, that she wanted to overrule the judge’s decision.

‘I don’t understand why she didn’t accept it, but she made trouble for herself.’

Toth returned to action on Thursday afternoon in the last 16 against Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova, as she suffered a 6-3, 6-1 defeat.