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A small child was left crying at the French Open on Thursday after Romanian tennis player Irina-Camelia Begu bounced her tennis racket into the crowd out of frustration only to draw a code violation.
Fans on social media criticized the decision made by the chair umpire to penalize Begu with just a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct – a stunt that has previously disqualified players at Grand Slam tournaments – after Begu bounced her racket into the crowd on Court 13 during her second-round match.
A small child was seen crying and grabbing at his face, but according to a Reuters report, the child was not hit and Begu was let off with a warning following a supervisor’s intervention.
Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania checks on a child during the French Open on May 26, 2022. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Images posted to social media appeared to show Begu hugging the child and posing for pictures after winning the match but not everyone was understanding of the officials opting for a slap on the wrist.
“Folks, why are we still allowing this?” tennis insider Ben Rothenberg said on Twitter. “Begu didn’t throw the racquet especially hard but the consequences of her action shouldn’t be shrugged off by officials.”
Parents comfort their child during the French Open at Roland Garros on May 26, 2022. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic was famously disqualified from the U.S. Open in 2020 after accidentally hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball that was not in play. He defaulted on the match but later said that he deserved the disqualification because “the rules are clear.”
Novak Djokovic of Serbia tends to a line judge, Laura Clark, after inadvertently striking her with a ball hit in frustration during the U.S. Open on Sept. 6, 2020, in New York. (Al Bello/Getty Images)
Begu will next play 227th-ranked French tennis pro Leolia Jeanjean after her upset victory over two-time major finalist Karolina Pliskova.