Netizens rally to blast tennis stars after their ‘poor sportsmanship’ led to Indonesian player’s Roland-Garros exit

Indonesia’s Aldila Sutjiadi (Left) with her women’s doubles partner Miyu Kato. Photo: Instagram/@dila11
Indonesia’s Aldila Sutjiadi (Left) with her women’s doubles partner Miyu Kato. Photo: Instagram/@dila11

It was supposed to be a routine doubles match at the French Open, but it ended in controversy and tears as No.16 seeds Miyu Kato and Aldila “Dila” Sutjiadi were disqualified for hitting a ball girl with a ball.

The incident happened on Sunday, when the Japanese-Indonesian duo were facing Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo and Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova in the third round. After losing the first set in a tiebreak, Kato and Sutjiadi were leading 3-1 in the second set when Kato hit a ball towards the back of the court at the end of a point.

The ball girl, who was standing near the baseline, did not see the ball coming and was struck on the head. She immediately burst into tears and was comforted by another ball girl and a line judge. Kato also rushed to apologize and check on her.

Sorribes and Bouzkova approached chair umpire Alexandre Juge protesting that he only initially gave Kato a warning for the incident. After a lengthy discussion with officials and the players, Juge announced that Kato and Dila had been defaulted from the match, according to a rule that states that players “shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw a tennis ball within the precincts of the tournament site except in the reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including warm-up).” The crowd booed and jeered at the decision, while Dila consoled a distraught Kato.

Having witnessed how the dream of a rare Grand Slam glory vanished for one of their own, Indonesian netizens went on full outraged mode and flooded Sorribes and Bouzkova’s social media pages accusing them of poor sportsmanship.

“Have you no shame advancing to the quarter finals in that way?” one user wrote in Indonesian as a comment to an Instagram post by Sorribes.

“Hopefully sponsors stay away from you now,” another wrote.


Dila herself doesn’t seem to have accepted the outcome of the match. The 28-year-old used the Indonesian equivalent to the expression “Give them a finger, and they’ll take the whole hand” in a story she posted on her Instagram today:

Photo: Instagram/@dila11

Indonesian tennis players rarely experience Grand Slam glory, especially since former world No. 19 Yayuk Basuki retired in 1999. The last time an Indonesian player reached a quarterfinal round in a major tournament was in 2004 when Angelique Widjaja achieved the feat twice in the women’s doubles category at the Australian Open and Wimbledon (partnering Venezuelan María Vento-Kabchi), and once in mixed doubles at the French Open (partnering Argentine Lucas Arnold Ker).

Commenting on an Instagram post by Dila, Yayuk urged her to keep her chin up and consider filing an official appeal to the tournament organizers if Kato’s stray shot was indeed unintentional.

This is not the first time that a player has been defaulted at a Grand Slam for hitting someone with a ball. In 2020, world No.1 Novak Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open after he accidentally hit a line judge in the throat with a ball he hit in frustration.

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