“I did not think that my first success in the main competition of the WTA tournament would cause such a stir. I am very sorry for what happened. I respect Zhang Shuei very much as a player and as a person. I had no intention of disparaging, angering or hurting anyone, least of all Zhang Shuei,” Tóthová said in a statement published by the tournament organizers on Facebook after her elimination in the second round.
The Hungarian also earned criticism for how she celebrated progress with her hands above her head after her opponent’s scream, which was also booed by the home fans. “I realize that I shouldn’t have celebrated the way I did after the match and I regret it. I acted in the heat of the fight and got carried away at that moment,” Tóthová added, adding that she would like to apologize to her opponent in person in the future.
Wow I can’t believe this, Toth went to wipe the mark despite Zhang keep shouting ”wait wait, keep the mark” pic.twitter.com/qtKC7KGyAO
— LorenaPopa 🕵️♀️🎾 (@popalorena) July 18, 2023
The incident took place at the end of the first set. The Chinese tennis player’s shot was declared as out by the linesman, and his verdict was confirmed by the umpire. But the tournament number two was convinced that the ball had touched the line and asked for the arrival of a supervisor. After that, another fifteenth game was played, after which Tóthová managed to erase the trace of the ball from the previous questionable exchange. When changing sides, a distraught Zhang Shuai decided to scratch the match.