Zhang Shuai, who was already battling mental health issues earlier this year when she was the victim of a regrettable episode at the WTA in Budapest. On the score of 5-5 in the first set of the match between Zhang and Kiara Toth, the Hungarian player served for the match.
A cross shot during the third point got a call out. The player decided to challenge the call. But the umpire backed the call, even though the shot appeared to land on the line, as shown in the slow motion replay. The unsportsmanlike behavior of Toth, who obliterated the place where the ball had hit the clay with her foot, and the unprofessional behavior of the chair umpire, led Zhang to retire, probably, as some local media claim, due to a panic attack.
Toth also celebrated after her opponent withdrew, drawing much criticism on social media. The former tennis legend Martina Navratilova commented on the episode: "Pathetic from any angle- umpire is not fit to call clay court matches and Toth is a bad sport."
Pathetic from any angle- umpire is not fit to call clay court matches and Toth is a bad sport — Martina Navratilova (@Martina) July 19, 2023
At 5-5 a shot by the Chinese tennis player was judged out, despite her having touched the outside line, which would seem quite clear from the images.
Toth approached the mark and decided to erase it to avoid a dispute or a more thorough scrutiny by the referee. The scene astounded her opponent, who began protesting the unsportsmanlike action.
At 5-5, a shot by the Chinese tennis player was judged 'out', despite having touched the outside line (it would seem quite clear from the images): Toth approached the mark and decided to cancel it to avoid disputes or a more in-depth check from part of the referee.
The scene astounded her opponent, who began protesting the unsportsmanlike action. The story didn't end only with this case, because in the following change of sides Zhang burst into tears and was no longer able to continue the match, thus deciding to withdraw.
The official reason that prevented the Chinese from finishing the match is not yet certain: some media have reported the hypothesis of a panic attack she had right on the pitch, following that disputed episode and the many boos received, given that the player had recently admitted to suffering from some mental problems.
In announcing her forfeit, the 34-year-old approached her opponent to shake her hand and communicate the decision. Toth learned of the news with astonishment and exulted in the forfeit victory obtained, even throwing his arms to the sky.