Tennis villain Amarissa Toth speaks out after uproar over 'disgusting' act

The tennis player's controversial move has been roundly condemned across the world.

Pictured left to right, Hungarian tennis player Amarissa Toth and China's Zhang Shuai.
Hungarian tennis player Amarissa Toth has issued an apology to Zhang Shuai over an incident that left her Chinese rival in tears. Pic: Twitter

Hungarian tennis player Amarissa Toth has apologised for her actions after a controversial mid-match incident left her opponent, Zhang Shuai in tears. Toth was condemned across the tennis world after a shocking incident that ultimately saw Zhang retire from their Hungarian Grand Prix match in the first set.

Toth deliberately erased a ball mark from a Zheng winner that was called out, with the parochial home crowd turning on the Chinese player after she remonstrated with officials. Zheng was left distressed by the ugly crowd backlash and eventually told the umpire she could not continue after breaking down in tears.

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The Chinese player copped a torrent of boos from the crowd, with Toth then seen celebrating in her face after the pair shook hands. The Hungarian player was initially remorseless over the incident, despite her actions being admonished around the tennis world, with Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic describing it as "absolutely disgusting behaviour".

Amarissa Toth left Zhang Shuai in tears after a series of controversial acts at the Hungarian Grand Prix tennis tournament. Image: WTA
Amarissa Toth left Zhang Shuai in tears after a series of controversial acts at the Hungarian Grand Prix tennis tournament. Image: WTA

Amarissa Toth apologises to Zhang Shuai

Toth went on to lose to Ukraine's Kateryna Baindl in the round of 16, before addressing the wave of backlash against her, by finally apologising to Zhang in a video statement released by officials. "I did not think that my first ever WTA main draw success of my career would cause such a storm," she said.

"I am extremely sorry for what happened, I respect Zhang Shuai as a player and as a person. It was never my intention to disrespect, hurt or upset anybody, let alone Zhang Shuai.

"I do realise I shouldn't have celebrated the way I celebrated after the match and I'm sorry for that. I was acting in the heat of the match and got caught up by my emotions and the moment. I focused on tennis, I didn't want to win like that."

Tennis world reacts to ugly incident

Her opponent Baindl also addressed the issue after their match, saying: "I hope they can stay fair and Zhang Shuai feels better and hopefully she is getting better and we will soon see her back.

"She is an unbelievable player, very respectful and a great person. There is a lot to learn from her. We should all stay respectful to each other, doesn't matter what."

Aussie doubles player Ellen Perez was another who hit out in disgust at Toth, claiming the Hungarian had lost the respect of her peers. "I'm actually shook by the level of disrespect from this girl ... If I see this girl tomorrow I will tell her how disgusted I am.

“There’s only so much one can handle before the blood is boiling and emotions get the better of you. I am not even on the court and legit fuming at this whole situation. I can’t even imagine how Shuai was feeling in the moment. Tough to see cause Shuai is the nicest girl.”

Daria Saville added: “Zero respect for this Toth girl. ZERO! I am so so so mad. I feel so bad for Shuai. Toth ‘won’ this point and ‘won’ this match but her reputation is ruined.”

Shuai, who has struggled with mental health issues in recent months and broke down at the French Open during a press conference, later wrote: “All efforts on practice was wrong, because when you wanted hitting closer to the line, even touched the line still OUT. I love you guys and all girls who supporting me and standing (by) my side.”

with agencies

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