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WTA decries racism as Chinese pro Shuai Zhang leaves match

The WTA Tour called the incident "unfortunate" and was reviewing a statement made by the tournament after Tuesday's match.
WTA decries racism as Chinese pro Shuai Zhang leaves match
Posted at 9:20 AM, Jul 20, 2023

WTA pro Zhang Shuai walked away in the middle of a match at the Hungarian Grand Prix this week after her opponent erased a ball mark.

Shuai hit a shot that appeared to hit the line, but the line judge called the ball out. The court is made out of clay, which leaves a mark and gives an opportunity for umpires to overrule the line judge.

As Shuai complained, video of the match showed opponent Amarissa Toth sweeping the mark away. As that was happening, someone could be heard on the video yelling, "Keep the mark." During the changeover, with Toth leading the first set 6-5, Shuai decided to walk away from the match while she was in tears. She shook hands with Toth and the umpire and left the court.

Shaui is ranked No. 45 in the world in singles but is considered one of the best women's doubles players, having won the 2019 Australian Open and 2021 U.S. Open with partner Samantha Stosur.

"I love you guys and all girls who supporting me and standing my side," Shaui said on Twitter. "A lot of players /fans such warm messages, love you guys and really appreciated again . Move forward stay strong."

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The Hungarian Open issued a statement claiming that the umpire did indeed check the mark, despite the video showing no such check, and blamed the Chinese for manipulating videos. That statement was later retracted.

The WTA Tour reacted to the Hungarian Grand Prix's statement.

"The WTA has zero tolerance for racism in any form or context," the WTA said. "The unfortunate incident that took place yesterday at the Hungarian Grand Prix and subsequent posts are being reviewed and will be addressed."

Toth was roundly criticized by others in tennis for a lack of sportsmanship.

"That’s another level of unsportsmanlike conduct Just wow," said Victoria Azarenka, the former No. 1 player in the world.

One day later, Toth was eliminated by Kateryna Baindl in straight sets.

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