Irina Camelia Begu was the centre of attention during her second round win over Ekaterina Alexandrova at the French Open yesterday.
The Romanian threw her racquet into the clay in frustration as she walked back to her seat in between sets during the game after dropping her serve. The racquet bounced off the clay surface and into the crowd, narrowly missing a child who was visibly shaken following the incident.
A supervisor was called to the court following this and after a few moments of discussion, a warning was issued to the world number 62.
Former tennis player Tim Henman described her actions as "unacceptable" and that Camelia-Begu was lucky to avoid disqualification and ejection from the court.
Speaking on Eurosport, Henman said;
"It is inevitable players will get frustrated and players will throw racquets, but they will need to take responsibility for where that racquet goes.
“And if you throw it like that you are at risk of it bouncing and it goes into the crowd and hits a child that’s in tears.
"Incredibly lucky not to be disqualified.”
Polémica en Roland Garros.
📌 Irina-Camelia Begu, enfadada, lanza su raqueta a la grada y casi impacta contra un niño, que acabó llorando.
📌 El partido se reanudó después de que la tenista intentara consolarle.
📌 La acción quedó solo en una amonestación. pic.twitter.com/VOcnMkJ4GO
— Relevo (@relevo) May 26, 2022
Irina-Camelia Begu goes right over after getting through Alexandrova and takes the kid she made cry in her arms to pose for a pic with his seemingly very happy parents.
She bounced her racquet in anger and it went into the crowd earlier. Kid wasn't hit, but was scared. pic.twitter.com/WIwxHGBKgq
— Stephanie Myles (@OpenCourt) May 26, 2022
Henman also gave a demonstration live on air about how other tennis players throw their racquets and Stefanos Tsitsipas' celebration after beating Zdenek Kolar as an example.
“The irony of this is the way Tsitsipas threw his racquet when he won, he threw it flat straight down so it is not going to bounce anywhere.”
“I am not wanting to give lessons as it’s not the right thing to do, you do not see Rafa and Roge, or Swiatek or these top players doing it because they are in control.
“We have seen too much of it and it is setting the wrong example.”
Public's reaction to Begu avoiding disqualification
Begu apologised to the child after the incident and lifted him up into her arms, but her actions were not well received by the public.
Seeing the Begu incident & Rublev incident from the other day, tennis officials really need to step up their game. I think both should have been defaults. We MUST start making players accountable for stupid decisions & those were both stupid decision & could have been a lot worse
— Rennae Stubbs OLY (@rennaestubbs) May 26, 2022
Begu issued an apology to the young boy after the match saying:
"I didn't want to hit that racquet, you know...you hit the clay with the racquet but you never expect to fly that much. It was embarrassing moment for me & I just want to end it and not talk about it and apologize again."
Begu faces Leolia Jeanjean in her third round clash of the French Open tomorrow afternoon.