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Controversial tennis player Tennys Sandgren has been defaulted out of the ATP Challenger event in Cary after a baffling incident involving a ball boy and the chair umpire.
Sandgren cut a more bemused than irritated figure after the bizarre incident, making light of it on Twitter soon after the default against Christopher Eubanks.
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The incident wasn't caught on TV cameras, but Sandgren seemed more than happy to explain how an inadvertent shot to the nether regions led to a strange chain reaction.
According to the world No.103, the ball boy had collected him below the belt with a ball, prompting Sandgren to then hit it away in frustration.
The errantly hit ball then hit an umpire, resulting in Sandgren's immediate disqualification.
The American star said it was 'totally my fault' that he earned the default, joking about the incident on social media after the fact.
"So tonight I got hit in the nuts by a ball kid’s toss with a little too much mustard,” Sandgren said.
“(I) slapped the wayward ball into the fence, which collided with a ref’s tushy as he was walking to the other side, resulting in a default.
“How’s your evening going?”
The ball boy could be heard saying 'sorry' to Sandgren, who put his hand up immediately after hitting the umpire in recognition of the situation.
“Just to be clear, this was all totally my fault,” he added.
The incident was oddly reminiscent of world No.1 Novak Djokovic's memorable default at the 2020 US Open, in which he hit a ball in frustration which hit a lineswoman in the neck.
Tennys Sandgren defaults from ATP Challenger in bizarre scene
Broadcaster Bryan Fenly said the whole situation played out very quickly.
“We did not even complete two games and it’s over. There’s a lot that took place on court. A lot of moving parts here. All I’m going to say is Sandgren defaulted. He’s bounced," he said.
“A wild scene here. I don’t want to speculate, there are a lot of different moving parts that happened in a very short span of time.”
Cameras didn't capture the actual incident but did pick up the aftermath, in which Sandgren didn't put up any fight over the decision.
He offered to shake Eubanks' hand before leaving, with the chair umpire checking in with the other official who indicated they had only been hit on the leg.
Sandgren earned some level of support from fans, who recognised the amusing nature of his exit from the tournament.
Though the incident was worthy of a laugh for the American, it doesn't do much to help his case in the ATP rankings.
Sandgren rose into the top 50 in 2020 after an impressive run to the quarter finals of the Australian Open - however he has since struggled for consistent form.
Since September last year, Sandgren has failed to win more than two games at any one tournament.
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