An Italian tennis player has paid for the price for an on-court dummy spit, kicked out of the Australian Open for hitting a ball kid.
Maria Vittoria Viviani, 17, was controversially disqualified from the girls’ competition after striking the ball in frustration towards the left side of the court, hitting a ball kid in the process.
Viviani had just lost the first set 6-2 against China’s Xin Yu Wang, but was immediately disqualified for the outburst.
The impact was minimal, according to Italian media, and Viviani is seen apologising immediately to the ball kid.
Maria Vittoria Viviani was defaulted in her R1 junior match for this… pic.twitter.com/6HnUeuBDK6
— Graham (@juki_tennis) January 22, 2017
Before the tournament, Viviani spoke of her excitement to be in Melbourne for the Open in an interview with Italian media.
In the same interview, she said her coach said her playing style was similar to Australian Daria Gavrilova.
The decision to disqualify the 17-year-old divided viewers on social media, with some suggesting the Italian had been hard done by.
@juki_tennis ouch. That was hardly anything… harsh. But I guess better to crack down and be strict in the juniors.
— SimonSays (@simonsaystennis) January 22, 2017
Her disqualification came on the same day Japan’s Kei Nishikori accidentally connected with a ball kid after softly hitting the ball away in his match against Roger Federer, Fairfax Media reports.
Nishikori was not punished for the incident.
In 1990, fiery American John McEnroe was disqualified from the Open after receiving three code violations from the umpire.