Karolina Muchova has made the staggering admission that she wasn't injured when she took a controversial medical timeout against Ash Barty.
Muchova left the Australian Open in shock on Wednesday when she came back from dropping the first set 6-1 to knock Barty out of her home grand slam in the quarter-finals.
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However Muchova's win will forever be tainted by controversy after a contentious medical timeout in the second set.
The Czech player called for the trainer after Barty broke her serve to go up 2-1 in the second and appeared to be in tears on her courtside seat.
Muchova then went off court and made Barty wait for around 15 minutes as she received treatment.
From there the 27th-ranked star appeared a completely different player, reeling off nine of the next 11 games to leave Barty in shock.
Fans were left fuming on social media, accusing Muchova of taking the timeout simply as a tactic to break Barty's momentum.
And the Czech player only fuelled the outrage with a startling admission in her post-match interview that she wasn't injured.
Instead Muchova said she was feeling "lost on court" and her "head was spinning".
"I was a bit lost on the court and my head was spinning so I took a break and it helped me," Muchova said.
"I started feeling a bit lost by the end of the first set.
"Ash started very good. She played like no mistakes. It was very tough."
Asked if she was actually injured, the 2019 Wimbledon quarter-finalist said: "No. It was more they just checked my pressure because, like I said, I was a bit lost. I was spinning.
"So they cooled me down a bit with ice and it helped me."
Fans were left in disbelief over Muchova's admission, describing the whole situation as a "disgrace" and a "farce".
Tennis players take note: if you’re getting thrashed and “feeling lost,” just take a 10 minute medical break.
All within the rules apparently.
Devastating loss for Ash Barty. #AusOpen
— Mark Gibson (@markgibbo) February 17, 2021
Did Muchova literally just admit to taking a medical time out for a head spin?!? Is that medical is it?! 🤯🤯 #AusOpen
— Steph (@dancingfirenice) February 17, 2021
Did Muchova just admit she took a tactical MTO cuz her head was all over the place .... she even confirmed it wasn’t for the abdominal issue she was previously struggling with
— Amy ❤️💛 #Rafamily (@TheRaFaLover) February 17, 2021
Muchova just basically admit to cheating? She basically just said I took time out because i was losing and needed to regroup.
— Reece M (@reecem77) February 17, 2021
Muchova unfair play. Fake injury and after that absolutely ok. This is not tennis! Huge disgraceful!
— František Malý (@FrantiekMal1) February 17, 2021
Was a great comeback by Muchova but sadly tainted by the fact she cheated to do it! Had she come back fairly she'd deserve all the praise but that medical timeout was absolutely disgraceful and changed the game! Rules need to be reviewed! #AusOpen
— Big A-Rab (@jtb150295) February 17, 2021
Did she just admit to cheating?
— don (@rickdog04) February 17, 2021
Absolute farce. She should be fined heavily. She literally admitted she wasn’t even injured. She took a “rest” break in a quarter final of a grand slam.
— Dylan Noronha (@DylanNoronha) February 17, 2021
It's actually disgusting though. That medical timeout has changed everything. Muchova was done for and suddenly had to go off the court for unknown reasons. Comes back as Serena Williams. Something 🐟 going on there.
— Gavin Fraser (@GavinFraserGav) February 17, 2021
Some pointed out that Muchova's English isn't all that great and she may have been experiencing dizzy spells when she said she was "spinning".
Speaking after the match, retired Aussie star Casey Dellacqua said Muchova's actions were "ethically icky".
“There will be a few questions asked about the medical time-out," Dellacqua said on Channel Nine.
"(It’s) legally fine. I think she said she felt dizzy, but then came out and whatever they did for her really helped because she came out and she played some really good tennis, started getting her serve moving, started getting her serve moving, started to really use her forehand well, came forward a lot more.
“She’s fine taking one (timeout) under the rules, dizziness gets the all clear for better or worse at the moment … (It’s) legally fine but ethically icky.”
I am going to get really angry at that disgraceful medical timeout which is clearly a rort and an embarrassment to tennis so it distracts me from the fact Ash was very ordinary after the first set. Might never have a better chance to win her home slam
— Jon Ralph (@RalphyHeraldSun) February 17, 2021
If a sport wants to allow players to take a break because they are a bit lost on the court, let's just allow them one timeout per match. Stop calling it a medical timeout
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) February 17, 2021
Wow from a set and break down Muchova takes out Barty party 🎉 long injure timeout early INT he 2nd set was turning point
— Brad Gilbert (@bgtennisnation) February 17, 2021
Ash Barty's stunning capitulation
The World No.27 returned to the court and swiftly broke Barty's serve for the first time.
After coughing up her first double-fault in her next service game, Barty had to fight off another two break points to level the set at 3-3.
Mixing deep moon balls with delicate backhand drop shots, the Czech grabbed another service break to surge to a 5-3 lead before snaring the set to level the match up.
Barely missing a ball as Barty's unforced error tally mounted, Muchova broke the Queenslander twice more in the deciding set before converting her first match point with an ace after an hour and 57 minutes.
Australia's World No.1 capitulated from a set and a service break up in a shock 1-6 6-3 6-2 quarter-final loss.
Her departure extends the local singles title drought to a 44th year.
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