Hungary's Amarissa Toth has issued a lengthy apology to Zhang Shuai after a Budapest incident that ignited an absolute firestorm in the tennis world. On Tuesday, Zhang suffered a panic attack and left the court in tears after Toth's act of unsportsmanship that many deemed as "disgusting." After removing the mark of the ball Zhang wanted to check out, Toth also raised her arms in celebration after the Chinese retired their match in tears a few moments later.
Toth's actions were heavily criticized by fellow WTA players, as well as tennis fans. On Thursday, Toth returned to the court and suffered a Budapest round-of-16 loss to Kateryna Baindl and afterward had a message for Zhang.
Toth's full apology to Zhang
“I did not think that my first WTA success would cause such a big storm, and I’m extremely sorry for what happened. I respect Zhang Shuai as a person just as a much as an athlete. It was never my intention to disrespect, upset, or hurt anyone—least of all Zhang Shuai.
I do realize I should not have celebrated the way I celebrated after the match, and I’m sorry for that. I got caught up in my emotions and in the heat of the match, and I got caught up by the moment. I focused on tennis, and I didn’t want to win like that.
I hope that, in the future, I will have the opportunity to sit down and talk with Zhang Shuai and tell how badly I feel that our match ended this way. I hope that Shuai Zhang feels better and that we will soon see her back because she’s an unbelievable player, very respectful and a great person.
There is a lot to learn from her, and we should all stay respectful to each other no matter what," Toth said in a video posted by the tournament.