Nick Kyrgios has questioned what sort of punishment Marc Polmans will get after the Aussie tennis player was disqualified from Shanghai Masters qualifying on Tuesday night for smashing a ball that hit the umpire in the face. Polmans had a match point while leading 6-5 against Stefano Napolitano in a second-set tiebreaker, but was left furious when he dumped an easy volley into the net.
The World No.140 turned and attempted to smash the ball out of the stadium in anger, but accidentally sent it flying straight into the chair umpire's face. Polmans, who was leading 7-6 (7-3) 6-6 (6-6), was immediately disqualified.
It was virtually an identical incident to the one that saw Canada's Denis Shapovalov disqualified during a Davis Cup clash with Great Britain in 2017. On that occasion, umpire Arnaud Gabas was left with a fractured eye socket after Shapovalov blasted the ball straight into his face.
British official Ben Anderson, who bore the brunt of Polmans' frustration on Tuesday, appears to have escaped serious injury. A tournament representative said he was struck on the cheek and nose and had returned to his hotel to rest.
Nick Kyrgios responds to Marc Polmans incident
The incident has left tennis fans and commentators in shock, with Kyrgios responding later on Tuesday night. The Aussie star questioned what sort of punishment Polmans would receive considering he once copped an AU$30,000 fine for shaking a water bottle in a lewd manner during a change of ends.
"Interested to see what the fine will be," Kyrgios wrote. "All things considered (15 thousand pounds) for the bottle shake at Queen's." Officials have announced that Polmans will not take home any prize money or ranking points he earned for beating Alibek Kachmazov in the first round of qualifying.
Interested to see what the fine will be 😂 all things considered (15 thousand pounds) for the bottle shake at queens https://t.co/oqfLhW8LMz
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) October 3, 2023
Retired Aussie tennis player Rennae Stubbs was quick to condemn Polmans but said it was completely out of character for the normally mild-mannered player. "Truly horrendous moment," she wrote on social media.
"Before u all go crazy on Mark, this is SO uncharacteristic of him. You will NOT meet a nicer guy or truer gentleman in every sense of the word. This a complete loss of sanity for someone like him, honestly. A moment that will change him and the poor umpire."
The Polmans incident also brought back memories of Novak Djokovic's infamous disqualification from the US Open in 2020. Djokovic was playing Pablo Carreno Busta when he swatted a ball away in frustration after a point had ended, only to see it collect a line judge in the throat. Tournament officials were left with no choice but to disqualify Djokovic, despite him showing full remorse and not intentionally meaning to hit her.
Truly horrendous moment. Before u all go crazy on Mark, this is SO uncharacteristic of him. You will NOT meet a nicer guy or truer gentleman in every sense of the word. This a complete loss of sanity for someone like him, honestly. A moment that will change him & the poor umpire
— Rennae Stubbs 🟦👍🏼 (@rennaestubbs) October 3, 2023
I hope he will be banned for at least 12 months.
This is a totally unaccaptable - and potential quite dangerous - behaviour and has to be stopped.
— Quiet Earp (@QuietEarp66) October 3, 2023
The rules specify that it is the player's duty to avoid, while the game is stopped, throwing the ball in an imprudent manner, risking the safety of those around him.
You do it once, twice, and it may happen nothing, but sooner or later it can happen.
— Flavietto99 🇮🇹 (RAFA 22 🏆) (@FlavioBertolin8) October 3, 2023
Aussies in action at Shanghai Masters
The 26-year-old Polmans was one of seven Australians trying to qualify for the main draw in Shanghai, four of whom prevailed. Rinky Hijikata, who was the top seed in qualfying, took just 80 minutes to see off Benjamin Lock of Zimbabwe 6-1 6-4, while James Duckworth also enjoyed a straight-sets victory 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 over fellow Aussie James McCabe.
World No.256 Dane Sweeny won 6-2 6-1 over Seongchan Hong of South Korea, while World No.292 Philip Sekulic defeated Arthur Weber of France 6-4 6-3. However Luke Saville was beaten 6-3 6-3 by Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan and Li Tu pushed American Aleksandar Kovacevic to three sets but lost 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 5-7.
The Aussie qualifiers will join Alex de Minaur, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Jordan Thompson, Alexei Popyrin, Max Purcell, Chris O'Connell and Aleksandar Vukic in the main draw. World No.2 Carlos Alcaraz will make his debut in Shanghai later in the week, while 2019 champion Daniil Medvedev, as well as Holger Rune, Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas, are also among a strong men's field.
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