Tennis villain's brutal response after 'disgusting' act sparks outrage

Amarissa Toth has offered no remorse after leaving Zhang Shuai in tears at the Hungarian Open.

Amarissa Toth and Zhang Shuai, pictured here on the tennis court.
Amarissa Toth left Zhang Shuai in tears after a series of controversial acts at the Hungarian tennis Open. Image: WTA

Amarissa Toth has doubled down on her claim that Zhang Shuai was "causing trouble" in their controversial clash at the Hungarian Open, refusing to apologise for her actions despite being widely condemned around the tennis world. Toth drew the ire of fans and fellow players on Tuesday with a series of 'disgusting' acts towards popular veteran Shuai.

The match boiled over at 5-5 in the first set when the chair umpire refused to acknowledge a ball mark on the court that clearly showed Shuai had hit a winner. The line judge called the ball out, and Shuai remonstrated with the chair umpire and pointed to the mark on the line.

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The Chinese veteran then called for the match supervisor to come to court and discuss the situation. But before the official got there, Toth walked over and blatantly rubbed out the mark with her foot.

Because there is no line technology at clay-court tournaments, umpires have the ability to look at the marks left by the ball on the court. Shuai was left incredulous that Toth had rubbed out the mark, but her Hungarian opponent simply laughed at her.

"Wait, wait, wait. Keep the mark," Shuai yelled. "What are you doing? Why would you do that?" Toth replied: “Because you’re making problems, that’s why."

The patriotic crowd then turned on Shuai as she continued her protests, and the situation proved too much as she burst into tears. The Chinese veteran decided to retire from the match rather than deal with the jeers and booing, with Toth celebrating in her face after the pair shook hands.

Toth's actions have drawn widespread condemnation, with a number of Aussie tennis players slamming her on social media. However the 20-year-old has shown no remorse, telling local media: “I didn’t understand why she made such a fuss about it, that she wanted to overrule the umpire’s decision. I don’t understand why she didn’t accept it, all in all, it was she who was looking for trouble.”

Tournament organisers later defended the umpire's decision to award Toth the point. "Thousands of cases like this happen all over the world. In this situation, it is the chair umpire who counts, who has awarded the point," the tournament's communications chief Erik Siklos said.

However the WTA has released a statement rebuking the tournament organisers, after an official allegedly made other comments that the "Chinese are manipulating the world with a manipulative video." The WTA said it has "zero tolerance for racism in any form or context. The unfortunate incident that took place today at the Hungarian Grand Prix and subsequent posts are being reviewed and will be addressed."

Tennis world's 'never seen' response to 'disgusting' act

Australian doubles player Ellen Perez said Toth 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.”

Fellow Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic wrote on Twitter: "Absolutely disgusting behaviour. Shuai is a better person than a lot of us for shaking the ref and that girl's hand."

Zhang Shuai and Sam Stosur in 2021.
Zhang Shuai won the US Open doubles title with Sam Stosur in 2021. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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.”

Leading tennis writer Ben Rothenberg noted the overwhelming support for Shuai, pointing to her popularity as one of the nicest players in tennis. "I have never seen a flood of WTA player reactions like this, especially to something that happened in R1 of a 250," he tweeted. "Goes to show how beloved Zhang Shuai is, most of all. The locker room will rally behind her with mighty force. They messed with the wrong one."

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