Russian tennis star Pavel Kotov startled a young ball girl during his Australian Open match against Arthur Rinderknech.
The 25-year-old came away with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-7 (6-8), 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 victory over Rinderknech and narrowly escaped disqualification in the first round because of his explosion. After he lost a point to Rinderknech, Kotov smashed a ball into the back wall.
The ball just missed a ball girl who winced in fear as Kotov hit the ball.
Tennis 365 noted that Kotov would have been disqualified if he hit the ball girl. World No.1 Novak Djokovic was disqualified in 2020 when he hit a line judge in the throat as he was trying to deliver a ball to one of the ball boys.
Wide World of Sports Australia posted the clip on its Instagram page. Tennis fans were not happy in the outlet’s comments section and chastised Kotov for his outburst.
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“As a parent of a ballkid I find it absolutely disgusting that he was not disqualified from the AO. The ballkids are all volunteers and do not deserve to feel scared or threatened whilst they are on duty,” one person wrote.
“Poor girl, she shouldn’t have to put up with that crap. Hope he gets a fine!!” another added.
“So where is the disciplinary action by match referee and tournament referee. He should have lost points and been fined plus had to publicly apologise. The standard you walk by is the one you accept. AO take action now!!!!!”
Kotov was ranked No. 64 in the world before the tournament began. His second-round match begins Tuesday. His opponent has yet to be determined.
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