By Belle Fraser
Kiara Toth just became the most hated woman in tennis.
The 20-year-old Hungarian faced China’s Zhang Shuai, 34, in the round of 32 at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Wednesday and had a display of poor sportsmanship one player called “disgusting,” and which forced her opponent to retire, flooded with tears.
“I don’t understand why she made such a fuss out of it, that she wanted to overrule the judge’s decision,” Toth said, according to media reports. “I don’t understand why she didn’t accept it, but she made trouble for herself.”
The match was tied 5-5 in the opening set when Shuai hit a cross-court forehand that appeared to land on the line.
The umpire, however, called it out.
Shuai protested the call to the umpire and while she called for a match supervisor to come to the court, Toth walked over to the line and rubbed away the ball mark with her foot.
Shuai asked Toth why she would do such a thing and Toth was short in her response: “Because you’re making problems, that’s why.”
Umpires usually use the ball mark to determine their call since there is no line technology in use on clay courts.
While the match was paused due to Shuai’s request to review the call, someone in the audience screamed “time violation,” to which Toth was seen laughing.
Shuai shook both her opponent’s and the umpire’s hands before leaving the court, even though Toth was seen celebrating her retirement.
Following the incident, Shaui took to Twitter and was met with tremendous support from the tennis community.
“All efforts on practice was wrong, because when you wanted hitting closer to the line, even touched the line still OUT …..” Shuai wrote. “Love you guys and all girls who supporting me and standing my side.”
Australian doubles player Ellen Perez stood by Shuai on Twitter.
“Well that’s a quick way to lose respect from your peers. I’m actually shook by the level of disrespect from this girl,” Perez wrote. “If I see this girl tomorrow I will tell her how disgusted I am.”
Ajla Tomljanovic, another Australian tennis player, praised Shaui’s composure.
“Absolutely disgusting behaviour. Shuai is a better person than a lot of us for shaking the ref and that girl’s hand,” Tomljanovic wrote on Twitter. “But then again, it’s Shuai we are talking about, of course she did.”
Other players chimed in similarly.
“Toth ‘won’ this point and ‘won’ this match but her reputation is ruined..” Daria Seville wrote on Twitter.
“That’s another level of unsportsmanlike conduct. Just wow,” Victoria Azarenka wrote.
Kristina Mladenovic added that Toth’s behavior was “unacceptable.”