French Open mixed doubles champion Miyu Kato on Friday posted a photo on Twitter taken with the girl she accidentally hit with a ball during a match that resulted in Kato’s pair being expelled from the women’s doubles draw.
“I’m glad to hear that you are doing well and continue to Volunteer as a Ball Girl. It makes me very happy to hear this,” Kato tweeted in English as they posed smiling and the girl holding a gift from the player.
Japan’s Miyu Kato (L) and Germany’s Tim Puetz celebrate after winning the mixed doubles final against Canada’s Bianca Andreescu and New Zealand’s Michael Venus at the French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 8, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
“I hope you enjoy the gift that I got you, and I look forward to seeing you again! Wishing you the Very Best!”
On Sunday, while the ball was not in play during her third-round women’s doubles match at Roland Garros, Kato casually hit a ball to the opposite end of the court, striking the ball girl and leaving her in tears.
Kato apologized to her on the court and later on Twitter, but the 28-year-old Japanese and her partner, Indonesia’s Aldila Sutjiadi, lost the match by default.
The penalty caused a wide-ranging stir. Kato lodged an appeal to the Grand Slam board, and the Professional Tennis Players Association declared it “unfair.”
Kato ended the turbulent tournament on a high Thursday, winning the mixed doubles final with her German partner Tim Puetz to secure her first Grand Slam title, beating 2019 U.S. Open women’s singles champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada and New Zealand’s Michael Venus.
“I’m really happy. He helped me from the first round, and I’m grateful,” Kato said. “I wasn’t at all (expecting a tournament like this). The only good thing was I could finish it well.”
Kato said there were no nerves from playing on Court Philippe-Chatrier for the first time and that she played aggressively as usual, but revealed the support she got from the fans at the venue gave her a lift as she improved from the second set.
“There were lots of people calling my name, and they really helped me,” said the Kyoto Prefecture native.
She also thanked those in charge of the tournament and sport for allowing her to continue in the mixed doubles draw following the women’s doubles default and promised to build on the whole experience.
“I just have to try not to get a default again for the rest of my entire life,” she said. “This title, for me at this moment, is really big. I want to win a trophy again somewhere.”
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