Controversy has erupted at the French Open after doubles player Nicholas Mahut was repeatedly told off by the chair umpire for spitting on the ground.
Mahut demanded to be shown the rule book by the tournament supervisor after he was warned for spitting on the court during his doubles match with Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
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The Frenchman waged a running battle with chair umpire John Blom throughout the first set, insisting he no longer wanted to hear from the official.
"I'm not the bad guy," said Blom, to which Mahut replied: "No, you are."
The chair umpire had asked Mahut a total of three times to refrain from spitting on the court, asking him to instead use tissues in his pocket as the French Open seeks to prevent any outbreak of the coronavirus at the tournament.
"Every time I play on clay I have something in my throat and I have to spit on the court," Mahut said to the court supervisor, after he refused to continue to speak with Blom.
The supervisor swiftly shut down that argument, reiterating to the Frenchman that he must use tissues.
The furious Mahut retorted “That’s the stupidest rule I have ever heard.”
The umpires won’t have to worry about a repeat of the antics, with Mahut and partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert going down to Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic 6-2 7-6.
Virus furore strikes French Open
German Alexander Zverev has said he played with fever and breathing difficulties during his fourth-round French Open defeat to Italian teenager Jannik Sinner on Sunday, raising questions about the COVID-19 protocols at the clay-court Grand Slam.
Zverev appeared to be in discomfort and was seen coughing on court during the match, and called for the doctor and trainer.
The French tennis federation (FFT), who run the tournament, told Reuters Zverev was most recently tested for COVID-19 on September 29 and the test returned a negative result the following day.
Zverev, 23, was up to date with his testing and was notified to undergo a routine test on Sunday, the day of his fourth-round match, the organisers added.
Organisers said Zverev did not consult with the Roland Garros medical service before his match against Sinner.
Zverev said he had been ill since his third-round win against Italian Marco Cecchinato on Friday and had a body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius.
"It was nothing wrong but I am completely sick after the match with Cecchinato in the night. Yeah, what can I say? I'm completely sick," a masked Zverev said during his virtual post-match news conference.
"I can't really breathe, as you can hear by my voice. I had fever, you know, as well. It was 38. It was 38 in the night or in the evening."
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