'Should be banned': Russian's 'unacceptable' act shocks French Open

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·Sports Editor
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Andrey Rublev, pictured here almost wiping out a groundsman at the French Open.
Andrey Rublev almost wiped out a groundsman at the French Open. Image: Eurosport

Russian star Andrey Rublev has landed himself in hot water at the French Open after almost hitting a court sweeper in the head with a ball he hit in anger.

The seventh seed survived a massive first-set scare to move past Kwon Soon-woo 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-2 6-4 and advance to the second round.

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However the 24-year-old let his frustrations boil over after losing the first-set tiebreak, angrily smashing a ball that bounced off his chair and narrowly missed the head of a groundsman sweeping the court.

The force of the ball knocked the groundsman's hat off, and Rublev was extremely lucky that it didn't actually hit him.

It immediately evoked memories of Novak Djokovic being defaulted from the US Open in 2020 when he inadvertently hit a line judge with a ball he struck in anger.

Had Rublev's ball hit the groundsman, he almost certainly would have suffered the same fate as Djokovic and been kicked out of the tournament.

Instead he received a code violation and was allowed to continue.

Andrey Rublev's ball, pictured here knocking the groundsman's hat off at the French Open.
Andrey Rublev's ball knocked the groundsman's hat off. Image: Eurosport

“I lost my mind for a moment, and of course I regret what I did," Rublev said after the match.

"It’s unacceptable to hit the way the ball I hit it.

“Better if I just hit the racquet on the seat, because the ball can affect someone.

“This is unprofessional from my side, and hopefully I will never do it again.”

Tennis fans and commentators were left shocked by the ugly incident.

Medvedev advances but Shapovalov crashes out

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Daniil Medvedev took less than 100 minutes to race into the second round, but World No 15 Denis Shapovalov lost to Danish teenager Holger Rune.

Medvedev brushed aside beat Facundo Bagnis 6-2 6-2 6-2.

The Argentine's calf was heavily strapped and at one point he collapsed while serving, but he insisted he was fit to compete.

The 32-year-old could be docked prize money if it is ruled he played while injured.

Given this was Medvedev's first clay-court match of the season following hernia surgery, he might have preferred a tougher workout, especially as he now faces a specialist on clay.

Serbian Laslo Djere, who beat Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-4 6-4, won their only previous meeting - though the Russian did retire at 0-6 5-5.

Daniil Medvedev during his match against Facundo Bagnis on Suzanne Lenglen court in the 2022 French Open finals day three. (Photo by Ibrahim Ezzat/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Daniil Medvedev during his match against Facundo Bagnis on Suzanne Lenglen court in the 2022 French Open finals day three. (Photo by Ibrahim Ezzat/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Shapovalov lost 6-3 6-1 6-4 7-6 (7-4) to Rune, another promising Scandinavian.

"I didn't really show up today, so it's a little bit difficult," he said.

"Of course, Holger is playing some great tennis, he won his first title, he's pushing some top guys.

"So not taking anything away from him. But I think against most players today I wouldn't come out the winner."

World No.8 Casper Ruud was the unintentional villain of the day, bringing down the curtain on the career of French favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The 37-year-old Tsonga took the first set, but by the end the ailing two-time semi-finalist could barely serve as Ruud won 6-7 (6-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 7-6 (7-0).

An emotional Tsonga, who reached a high of World No.5 in his 18-year career, kneeled and put his head down to the clay amid thunderous applause after the defeat.

He was reduced to tears a number of times throughout the match as a shoulder injury ruined his farewell.

with AAP

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