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Irina-Camelia Begu Throws Racket at French Open, Causes Stoppage

During her second-round match on Thursday, Romanian tennis player Irina-Camelia Begu spiked her racket in frustration and accidentally bounced it into the stands, causing a child to burst into tears.

Begu was down 2–0 in the third set and had just lost the first point of the third game. She walked over to her bench, clearly upset with her play, and threw the racket to the ground, when it bounced up near the child. The umpire checked on the child, while a supervisor came onto the court and handed Begu a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The child appeared to not be hurt.

Begu’s opponent, Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, was not happy with what occurred, especially since it paused their match. When Begu eventually won that game, Alexandrova angrily hit a ball into the stands saying “So, I can do that, too?” She was also given a code violation for this action. Begu ended up winning the match.

After the match, Begu apologized to the child and took photos with the family. The Romanian apologized to fans in her post-match press conference for what happened on the court. 

“Well, it’s an embarrassing moment for me. I just want to apologize,” Begu said. “My whole career I didn’t do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. So I’m just going to say again, sorry for the incident and, yeah, it was just an embarrassing moment for me. ... It was a difficult moment because I didn’t want to hit that racket, you know. It was—you know, you hit the clay with the racket, but you never expect [it] to fly that much. It was, as I said, embarrassing moment for me, and I just want to end it and not talk about it.”

However, her opponent Alexandrova wants to continue talking about it, especially about how Begu did not receive a fault for her actions. 

“So disappointed to leave RG [Roland Garros] like that, I was trying to do my best, but seems like the rules were against me today,” Alexandrova said, via her Instagram. “This shouldn’t be happening. I hope after today’s match rules will be improved for everyone’s safety. We are responsible for our racket.”

Technically, Begu only received a warning for her code violation because it was her first known violation of this sort. If it were to happen again, she would lose a point for her actions.

There has been no indication yet that Begu will receive additional punishment for the incident.

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